Whatever Happened To Martin Ødegaard? The Former Phenom Has A New Club
Remember Ødegaard? Martin Ødegaard, the 16-year-old Norwegian wonderkid Real Madrid signed back in January 2015. He was all anyone in the soccer world could talk about for a brief moment. Everyone kept talking about how he was going to be the new Messi. Both lefties. Both on the right wing. Both showcasing a similar playing style of cutting in with their left.
But it's been three years now and nothing has come of him; he's fallen off the map. So whatever happened to him? Where is he today?
He's at Dutch club Vitesse, on loan from Real Madrid.
After being signed by Real, he played for their reserve team, Real Madrid Castilla, which was coached by Zinedine Zidane at the time. And on May 23, 2015, he was given the shot of a lifetime, what millions of people all around the world only dream of — he was called to Madrid's first team.
Ødegaard became Real Madrid's youngest debutant at 16 years old and 157 days. He came on as a 58th minute substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo when they were winning 5-3 against Getafe.
He almost provided an assist, but it was ruled offside. And ultimately, he played rather timidly, seemingly afraid. He didn't dribble, didn't take any shots, didn't attempt any long balls or ambitious passes. Every time he touched the ball, he immediately got rid of it, and it was always the simplest pass possible, to either someone behind him or a few feet away from him. He didn't express himself or play with any confidence; he cracked under pressure.
And Madrid then loaned him to SC Heerenveen (another Dutch club.) He played there last season and was just loaned to Vitesse this past August. Seems like quite the anticlimactic career path…
Was he just overrated from the start and never had the potential to grow into the shoes everyone was expecting him to?
Not necessarily. He's only 19. And sure, you have players like Messi and Ronaldo who were already superhuman at 19. But then there are players like Harry Kane who, on the other hand, sat on the bench at that age and was barely on the map four years ago, when he was 21. And look at him now.
Some players just take more time than others to come into fruition and reach their full potential. So hopefully Ødegaard is just a late bloomer and simply needs a few more years to grow into the star that his glimpse of talent implied he could, but he's going to grow nonetheless. Maybe he's going to be more of the Harry Kane type instead of the new Messi. Only time will tell…