While Real Madrid picked up a convincing 3-1 victory over Real Sociedad on Matchday 14, Los Blancos loanee Martin Odegaard had quite the individual performance.
For the first time since he was a teenage prospect in 2015, Martin Odegaard took the field at the Santiago Bernabeu. Except this time, the Norwegian wunderkind donned the opposition’s kit as their superstar, as Odegaard has been shining on loan at Real Sociedad.
Odegaard is a big reason why Sociedad entered this pivotal match against Real Madrid as the fourth-place team in La Liga, looking like a legitimate threat to qualify for the Champions League in 2020. He didn’t score a goal or provide an assist – it was Sergio Ramos who set up Willian Jose in this game – but he more than made his presence felt at the hallowed ground.
According to WhoScored.com, Odegaard led his side with 80 touches, three key passes, and added a pair of shots on target. He finished the game with a pass completion percentage hovering around 85% with four dribbles completed, three fouls drawn, and five attempted crosses.
No player on Sociedad was as active as Odegaard, who frustrated Real Madrid superstar defensive midfielder Casemiro with his pressing. Odegaard’s vision and movement off the ball were exemplary, and he flashed a couple of dangerous shots at Thibaut Courtois, including one chance that Ballon d’Or holder Luka Modric had to barely interfere with.
Odegaard bossed the game so much in the first half that some commentators jokingly called the Norway international Real Madrid’s best player in the first half. While that distinction should have went to Ferland Mendy, the larger point was made: Odegaard is a special player.
Real Madrid fans have been salivating at highlights of Odegaard’s, who has some of the prettiest passes in European football this season. Few attacking midfielders have been as adept as creating clear-cut chances, as Odegaard’s ability to control games is unlike any 20 year old’s.
While Los Blancos have two world-class controlling attacking midfielders in Toni Kroos and Modric, as well as Isco and James Rodriguez on the squad, they could still use Odegaard over the next several years. Odegaard looks like the ideal heir apparent to these superstars, and in front of the bright lights of the Bernabeu on Saturday night, Odegaard did not look out of place on a pitch filled with global stars.
Of course, that doesn’t surprise anyone who has tracked Odegaard’s development at Vitesse and now at Sociedad. He has consistently improved and does all the little things, in addition to providing moments of magic with his technical quality and vision. Odegaard is a dream player for Real, and this performance in a losing effort has Madridistas even more excited for what the midfielder can bring to the table in, presumably, 2021.