Martin Odegaard has shot to prominence since his debut at 15 for the Norwegian national team, he provided 5 goals and 7 assists in 23 games for his, now old club Stromsgodset in the Norweigian top flight. For a boy of only 16 these facts alone are mightily impressive, let alone the recent completion of his move to none other than the creators of the ‘Galactico’, Real Madrid.
Does Martin Odegaard have what it takes to become the next ‘Galactico’, or to live up to the hype surrounding him suggesting he is the next Lionel Messi? The only answer to either of those questions is that I don’t know, and neither does anyone else.
The media loves a new ‘wonderkid’ or the next ‘insert former star here’ but more often than not, especially when a talent is picked out at such a young age, they do not make it. Freddy Adu is a name that will ring a bell in the heads of people following the game for the last 10 years, he was the golden boy of the MLS after making his debut at the age of 14, labelled the next superstar the young American had a lot of expectation to carry on his shoulders.
Adu was last seen leaving Serbian SuperLiga club Jagodina after 6 months, without a league appearance to his name, he is only 25 and is a perfect example of how massive hype and early success is not a sure fire sign of even remote success or development later on in a player’s career.
I want Odegaard to succeed, he will get fantastic coaching at Real Madrid but a boy of 16 has so much growing up to do and so many potential problems to avoid before he will even get a sniff at genuine stardom. If Odegaard was 10 years, or even 5 years older playing at the same level he is now Real Madrid would not even know his name, he could perhaps dream of a move to Wigan if he got lucky. Madrid have bought him solely for what could happen to him in the future and I think the danger is in the weight of expectation, and the chance of Odegaard believing he is better than he is.
I hope Odegaard becomes a massive success, but he will have to work extremely hard to ever make the first team at Madrid, let alone become a ‘Galactico’ and I think the media spotlight is his greatest enemy at this point in his young career.
by David Richards