Martin Odegaard had ‘no friends’ at Real Madrid despite ‘earning a lot of money’
Money can't buy you happiness – and it appears Martin Odegaard learned that lesson the hard way at Real Madrid.
The promising playmaker now seems to be loving life at Arsenal following a frustrating six-year spell with the Spanish giants. Odegaard became the latest Galactico at the age of just 16 and admitted it was a 'dream come true' to sign with Real in January 2015.
However, it was a move which descended into something of a nightmare for the Norwegian prodigy. Loan spells with Heerenveen, Real Sociedad, and Vitesse followed, and the attacking midfielder would make just 11 senior appearances for Real Madrid.
Odegaard joined the Gunners on loan in January last year, and quickly won over boss Mikel Arteta and the club's fanbase. The Norway international netted his first goal in a north London derby win over Tottenham, and agreed a permanent switch last summer in a deal worth in excess of £30m.
Bjorn Furuheim previously worked as the head of the supporters’ group Arsenal Norway, and works as the head of security at Odegaard's former club Stromsgodset. Reflecting upon the playmaker's journey so far, Furuheim outlined how the young star found himself isolated despite his newfound wealth.
He told the Athletic: “Arteta loves him. He has friends in the club. In Real Madrid — no friends. He played with the second team, he earned a lot of money and was training with the first team; not a great period for him. I heard so many people say that when he came to Arsenal, everything changed. It is a fantastic story.
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“It is so good to see my club, Arsenal, can make him that good because of the way they treat him. He has come to the right club. It is like a family for him. Everybody needs to be taken care of, even a super-super-class player.”
Arteta has been full of praise for Odegaard, with the 23-year-old touted as a potential future Arsenal captain. The Gunners boss has called on the Norway skipper to add more goals to his game, but insists he brings far more to the team than statistics may suggest.
Arteta said last month: "Martin for us is a really important player, that's for sure. He's showing that every single week. He's phenomenal to work with. He's developing areas of his game that we discussed, that he agreed, and that we believed could help him impact matches in a much more powerful way. His whole mindset, the way he prepares himself, the way he treats people, the way he plays the game, is just exactly what we want from an Arsenal player."
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