Real Madrid’s Odegaard thrilled to join ‘best club in the world’
Real Madrid struck a deal to sign Norway’s teenage sensation Martin Odegaard from Stromsgodset.
The 16-year-old attacking midfielder was unveiled to the media on Thursday afternoon at a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu after completing his transfer to the defending European champions.
"It’s a dream come true," Odegaard told Real Madrid TV. "It’s incredible. It’s an honor to join the best club in the world. I don’t feel the pressure but it’s different to play for Real Madrid than for Stromsgodset. I will try and enjoy this dream as much as possible."
Odegaard added: "The past year has been incredible, it has all happened much quicker than I expected. This year hasn’t started bad either."
The choice of Real was easy for Odegaard, who was all smiles throughout the press conference. Odegaard had visited other top European clubs in the past few months, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Bayern Munich.
"My reason is that this move gives me the best possibility to develop as a player and it offers me the best conditions in my personal life," he said. "My aim is to become the best player possible. I saw Real as the best option and the club welcomed me in the best possible way. I felt right at home."
Odegaard, who has signed a six-year contract with Los Blancos, will have his father, Hans Erik Odegaard, close by.
"Martin’s father is a player," Real Madrid institutional director Emilio Butragueno said at the press conference. "He is a very qualified coach and was coaching a team in Norway. He will be working in the youth team sections of Real Madrid."
The Norway international is happy that he will seeing his father on a regular basis.
"My father has been a very good coach for me and has helped me in every aspect of my game," he said. "I feel that has been the reason why I’m here."
Odegaard, who is the first Norwegian to have signed for Real, will train with the first team but is expected to play most of his games for the club’s second team, Castilla.
"If (Real coach Carlo) Ancelotti wants to use Odegaard for the first team it will not be a problem," Butragueno said. "He will also do the preseason with the first team."
Odegaard is looking forward to training with Real’s star-studded squad, which includes FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and Welsh star Gareth Bale.
"It’s going to be very exciting to train with this team," he said. "I’m very enthusiastic and can’t wait to start training. All the players have a lot of class." There is Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world, I like Gareth Bale too and Isco, I could name all of them."
Real have enormous expectations of Odegaard. He broke a continental record that had stood for 31 years by becoming the youngest player to compete in a European Championship qualifier last September when he played at age 15 in a 2-1 win over Bulgaria.
"He is an extraordinary talent," Butragueno said. "We have a lot of expectations."
Butragueno then looked at the new signing and said: "We are honored to have you here.
"We will do everything for you to be happy at Madrid so you are able to develop your talent here. We have no doubt you will be successful at Real."