Why Ødegaard could finally break through at Real Madrid

By: Amir Elrafie

It seems like we’ve been waiting an eternity to watch Martin Ødegaard breakthrough at Real Madrid. Despite being part of Real Madrid’s first-team for the first half of last season, it never really amounted to anything. Ødegaard was seen bidding for his playing time as a result of Zinedine Zidane’s reliance on the old guard and the intangible duo of Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić, making it virtually impossible for the Norwegian to have a significant spell in the starting eleven. 

The 2020/21 season did provide us with glimpses of what the Norwegian playmaker could provide, but without a structured system and confidence behind the development of the player, it seemingly turned out to be a recipe for disaster as Ødegaard had gone on to have a lackluster campaign rather than fulfilling the high expectations many had hoped. 

Fast-forward to today, Real Madrid could finally see the best of Ødegaard in the upcoming season. If history tells us anything, it’s that current Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti loves himself a creative playmaker. Whether it’s James Rodríguez or Ángel Di María, Ancelotti’s setup cries out for an advanced number 8/10 as his system revolves around quick positional interchanges and a depth of attacking football which perfectly suits the profile of a player such as Martin.  

To give you a more insightful look at how exactly Ødegaard could operate in Ancelotti’s system, the 2019/20 season is a perfect indication of that. Under Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad, Ødegaard primarily operated as an advanced 8 and sometimes even as a number 10 in a midfield three. His main asset being his ability to drop in-between the lines and deliver cunning passes in-behind as he was Real Sociedad’s creative spark that season. Deservedly so, Ødegaard was arguably the best midfielder in LaLiga that season and his performances were the main reason why Real Madrid decided to cut his loan spell short. 

It’s always a tough task to break through at a club like Real Madrid but it could finally be time for the young Norwegian to be a mainstay in the starting eleven. With Ødegaard being able to perfectly mesh into Ancelotti’s system and Modrić at the twilight of his Real Madrid career, we could finally be witnessing a breakthrough for the Norweigan superstar this season.

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