Tag Archive: Real Madrid

Odegaard: Real Madrid Was Best Option

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A complete unknown only a year ago, Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard’s transfer to Real Madrid has set his fledgling career soaring towards the summit.

The 16-year-old midfielder had long been courted by some of Europe’s top clubs. Real, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Liverpool were all, according to press reports, in the race to sign the teenager. Finally, a deal with the Spanish giants was announced Thursday, clearing the way for him to join a number of world stars in midfield.

“I felt it was the best option for the way I could develop both on a sporting level and in my personal life, so it had the best possibilities for me,” he said Thursday.

Before joining the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema after the summer he will spend the spring playing for Castilla — the club’s youth team, coached by Zinedine Zidane.

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“My goal is quite simply to become a better footballer,” he said. “Whether I play with the first or second team makes no difference. It will come when it comes.”

A dream come true for a boy who just celebrated his 16th birthday on 17 December. The rapid turn of events will not be unfamiliar to Odegaard, who already has three international appearances for Norway to his name. When he joined the first team of Stroemsgodset, the club of his native city of Drammen, in April 2014, he became the youngest player to ever play in the Norwegian first division. A month later, he became the league’s youngest scorer.

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Odegaard scored five goals and provided seven assists in his 23 games for the club. His prowess quickly drew attention as videos of the then 15-year-old running circles around his opponents created an online buzz that spread to the Scandinavian sports press. He was soon called up to the national team, where he broke new records. Odegaard became the youngest Norwegian international in history in August — only 15 years and 253 days old — and later the youngest ever to feature in a UEFA EURO qualifier, in October against Bulgaria.

“He has developed enormously in a short time. He brought down barriers that I think neither he nor anyone else imagined would fall,” Norway manager Per-Mathias Hoegmo recently told the Aftenposten daily. “His way of playing, his talent, his ability to make choices and think, all of this is impressive,” he added.

Madrid team-mates await with anticipation
His gifts have not gone unnoticed around Europe. Many of the continent’s greatest clubs have reportedly been interested in signing the Norwegian. Press reports linked Ajax Amsterdam with an imminent deal, while others said Bayern was first in line. The German team’s president, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said Odegaard was the “talent of the century”.

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The teenager and his father Hans Erik — himself a former professional — toured several clubs over recent months to visit facilities and meet senior representatives. Hans Erik’s demand was for his son not to spend time with the reserves of a great team, but to train and play with the best. According to sports media, Zidane played a key role in convincing the Norwegian to start out at Castilla in the Spanish third division before joining the first team. His future team-mates already await his arrival with anticipation.

“A good player. I think he’s a young boy, he can still grow,” Ronaldo said of his new team-mate. “He has a good future ahead. So we must give him time to learn, to take the best decisions but I see a lot of potential in that player,” he added before picking up his third FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

“So we must give him time to learn, to take the best decisions but I see a lot of potential in that player. A good left foot.”

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We Lost

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Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti praised his players’ reaction from their Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid in midweek to move four points clear at the top of Spain’s La Liga with a 3-0 win over Getafe.

Victory ensured the European champions will top the table at the halfway mark of the campaign and Ancelotti believes they are well on course for just a second league title in seven years. “This first-half of the season has been very good,” said the Italian. “We started with some problems and then had a great run. We suffered a defeat in Valencia, but the team has great desire to win this competition and we are well-positioned. We just need to keep going.”

It was far from vintage performance by Ancelotti’s men for large spells at the Alfonso Perez Coliseum, but there was no way back for Getafe after a wonderful piece of skill by Karim Benzema teed up Cristiano Ronaldo to slot home the opener just after the hour mark. Gareth Bale then doubled the visitors’ lead before Ronaldo rounded off the scoring with his 36th goal of the season.

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“At the start we played a bit slow, but I liked the performance because the team played with intelligence and much better in the second-half than the first. I think the whole team played well, but the assist by Karim opened the game up for us. It was extraordinary.”

Madrid have failed to hit the heights of the form they showed on a 22-game winning run to finish 2014 so far this year as they were beaten by Valencia in La Liga before falling to rivals Atletico in the Cup. However, Ancelotti is confident his side are slowly finding their way back to top form. “I think the intensity with which we played at the end of the year was a little bit better, but the team is improving. Little by little we are returning to our best level.”

Captain Iker Casillas had a comfortable afternoon in goal as Getafe failed to register a single shot on target. And he echoed Ronaldo’s words after the elimination to Atletico in midweek that a lack of Cup action in the coming weeks could boost their league campaign.

“Unfortunately we lost in the Cup where we were the holders, but there are no excuses,” he said. Now we have more time to prepare for games and can train harder. As Cristiano said, we hope it will be one step backwards to take two forwards further down the line.”

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Real Madrid Have Big Moves-To Snap Up Teen

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Real Madrid have beaten off fierce competition from Europe’s other top clubs to sign 16-year-old Norwegian wonderkid Martin Oedegaard from Stroemsgodset, the Spanish giants confirmed on Thursday.

Oedegaard had been linked with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Liverpool and Ajax amongst others after visiting the training facilities across Europe in recent months. However, he has opted for a move to the Santiago Bernabeu which will cost the European champions up to a reported €4 million (USD $4.6 million, £3.1 million).

“Real Madrid and Stroemsgodset have reached an agreement for the transfer of Martin Oedegaard,” read a statement on Real’s website. Oedegaard will undergo a medical and be formally presented in front of the media later on Thursday.

It is expected he will start his Madrid career under the orders of French legend Zinedine Zidane in the Real Madrid B team which plays in the third tier of Spanish football.

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The left-footed prodigy burst into the spotlight less than a year ago when he became the youngest player to appear and score in the Norwegian Premier League, managing five goals and seven assists in 23 games.

Videos of the young player running rings around opponents have gone viral and soon came to the attention of Norway’s national team. In August, Oedegaard wore Norway’s red and blue shirt for the first time in a friendly against United Arab Emirates, aged just 15 years and 253 days, a national record.

In October, he became the youngest player ever to appear in a UEFA EURO qualifier, coming on as a substitute in a match against Bulgaria.

“He has developed enormously in a short time. He brought down barriers that I think neither he nor anyone else imagined would fall,” Norway manager Per-Mathias Hoegmo told the Aftenposten daily. “His way of playing, his talent, his ability to make choices and think, all of this is impressive,” he added.

Oedegaard is just the latest teen prodigy to be snapped up by Real. Last month 16-year-old Dutch forward Mink Peeters was signed from Ajax, whilst 18-year-old Marco Asensio has already agreed a deal to join from Mallorca at the end of the season.

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