Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid's long wait for Odegaard to come of age
It has been five years since the Norwegian replaced Cristiano Ronaldo against Getafe for his debut. Finally this summer, he will join Zidane's first team.
On 23 May, 2015, Martin Odegaard became the youngest Real Madrid debutant in history when he replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in the 57th minute of the final game of the season against Getafe. Odegaard was just 16 years and 157 days old and the record still stands but five years later the Norway midfielder has added only one more senior appearance for Real Madrid to his tally.
That is likely to change next season though with Odegaard firmly in the plans of Zinedine Zidane after what could be described as his breakthrough season at Real Sociedad after a solid spell with Vitesse last term. Given the financial constraints facing Madrid and the rest of Europe’s big-hitters this summer, Odegaard might be considered a new signing. If Rennes hold firm on Eduardo Camavinga and the Paul Pogba flirtation comes to nothing, the 21-year-old might be Zidane’s only new arrival.
After his renaissance in the Dutch league, when offers were hardly pouring in for the midfielder’s services, Odegaard has really found his feet at Sociedad, scoring seven times this season and providing eight assists in 28 games. Only Lucas Pérez and Joselu have been involved in more goals than Odegaard in 2019-20 with the Norwegian having a hand in 24 of the 39 La Real moves that have ended with the ball in the back of the net in LaLiga. Only one player in the division has a higher rate of goal involvement than Odegaard so far this campaign: Leo Messi.
Odegaard set for second Real Madrid chance
That has led Real Madrid and Zidane to a fairly straightforward conclusion: Odegaard will be recalled from his loan at La Real this summer and given his chance in the first team. The midfielder is under contract until 2023 at the Bernabéu and has been lauded across the league for his performances at Anoeta. “He has sufficient quality to play at Real Madrid,” said his teammate Mikel Merino in a recent interview with AS. “But we hope he stays here with us.”
As well as Odegaard, Zidane will have Marco Asensio back in his line-up for next season (and probably some of the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign). The Spain international cost €3.9m and Odegaard €2.3m when he signed in 2015 from Stromsgodset. That is the kind of balance that Madrid will be looking at in the transfer market this summer as they try and bring in at least one new player to shore up the midfield, with Camavinga top of that list.