16-year-old Martin Odegaard has been snapped up by Real Madrid
Odegaard "fever" spreads across Norway with hopes pinned on the youngster's success
"It's a dream come true" says Odegaard at the press conference on Thursday
It’s a thriller that reads like a script from one of those Scandinavian dramas that have entranced global television audiences in recent years.
A 16-year-old Norwegian soccer sensation – Martin Odegaard – is set for superstardom after being headhunted by Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Much is expected of Odegaard, with pretty much every European elite football club rumored to have expressed an interest in securing his signature.
But will Odegaard’s tale have a happy ending? Spanish giants Real Madrid are hoping so after swooping in for the kill.
“It’s an honor and a dream come true,” Odegaard told the Real website as he was unveiled by the Spanish club alongside one of the Real greats Emilio Butragueno, who labeled the Norwegian as “an extraordinary talent.”
“The reason I chose Real Madrid is because this team has the best conditions, both in sporting terms to develop as a player, and off the field to develop as a person,” added Odegaard.
While his tender age means he will initially enter Real Madrid’s B team – coached by French great Zinedine Zidane – it might not be too long before he’s wowing the crowd at the Spanish club’s Bernabeu stadium.
“Plan: Debut this season,” trumpeted Norway’s largest daily newspaper VG’s headline.
Odegaard’s success in Norway has snowballed quickly, with the Nordic nation gripped by his meteoric rise.
“Norway is hit by a serious, serious Odegaard-fever,” Norwegian News Agency’s Espen Hartvig told CNN.
“I would say that in general for the moment it is a kind of pride that little Norway and little Drammen (Odegaard’s home city) has produced a football talent like this.”
The fresh-faced forward, who has spent his entire career to date with Stromsgodset, debuted for Norway last year, becoming the youngest player to appear in a European Championship qualifier aged just 15 years and 300 days old.
“My goal is to become the best player possible,” said Odegaard. “It isn’t important if I play in the first or second team.
“It’s a major advantage having a second team of a really high level and with a coach who was one of the best players in the world, and it was also important in my decision,” added the Norwegian teenager, referring to Zidane.
Only time will tell – and Odegaard has a lot of it on his side.