Former Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari reportedly ‘begged’ Real Madrid to bring Martin Odegaard back from his loan spell in the Netherlands last season, but was met with a resounding ‘no’.
20-year-old Odegaard has been one of the standout performers in La Liga this season, impressing from midfield with high-flying Real Sociedad. The Norwegian – who made world headlines when he signed for Real Madrid as a 16-year-old wonderkid – joined the Basque club this summer in a loan deal, after two-and-a-half seasons farmed out in the Dutch Eredivisie with Vitesse and SC Heerenveen.
Odegaard was enjoying a productive campaign with the former in 2018/19, as his parent club recorded one of their worst seasons in modern history under Julen Lopetegui, Solari and latterly Zinedine Zidane.
According to journalist Pepe Herrero, speaking on ?Radio MARCA, Solari was keen to bring the young midfielder back to the Bernabeu mid-season as he attempted to rectify the club’s ailing fortunes. However, his ‘begging’ apparently fell on deaf ears.
Odegaard became ?Real Madrid’s youngest ever debutant in 2015, when he replaced Cristiano Ronaldo as a second-half substitute in La Liga aged just 16 years and 157 days.
Following his signing and debut, things went somewhat cold for Odegaard whose path to the first-team was blocked during Zinedine Zidane’s first reign.
However, he spent more time in Madrid’s Castilla ‘B’ team working with Solari, who would later become the first-team coach.
Speaking recently on his time with Solari in Castilla, Odegaard said (via ?AS): “We had a good relationship. I remember he always told me to take responsibility and he helped me a lot. I think that moment was maybe my best moment in Castilla, when I started to score more goals. So yeah, I think we had a good connection.”
While it’s unlikely the recalling of Odegaard would’ve made much difference as Real Madrid failed to win any silverware and crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16, the alleged refusal to back a coach’s faith in a youth product is possibly telling about the state of the club internally.
Odegaard, who has two goals and three assists in ?La Liga so far this season, is on loan at La Real for the rest of the 2019/20 season, while Madrid have the option to extend the deal for a further season should they wish.