|Full Name||Martin Odegaard|
|Born||17 December 1998
Martin Odegaard (born 17 December 1998) is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Arsenal and captains the Norway national team.
Odegaard is the son of former footballer Hans Erik Odegaard, who played as a midfielder for Stromsgodset and Sandefjord Football and was assistant manager of Mjondalen IF from 2009 to 2015. He was still attending a local lower secondary school when he made his professional debut, but has since completed his compulsory education in Norway. He is a supporter of English team Liverpool, whom he has described as his “dream club”. As a boy, Odegaard looked up to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. Due to his age, Odegaard was absent from the computer game Football Manager 2015 until his father gave permission to use his son’s likeness.
Odegaard began training with the Stromsgodset first team in 2012, aged 13. He made his first team debut the same year, in a mid-season friendly against local rivals Mjondalen IF. He also had short training visits to Bayern Munich and Manchester United. In 2013, at age 14, Odegaard played for both Stromsgodset’s junior team (normally aged 17–19), and the club’s third team at the fifth tier of Norwegian senior football.
He made his league debut for Stromsgodset in a match against Aalesunds FK at Marienlyst Stadion on 13 April 2014. Aged 15 years and 118 days, he became the youngest footballer ever to play in Tippeligaen.
In the away match against IK Start on 15 August the same year, Odegaard was placed on the right wing, and made all three assists for Stromsgodset, who won 3–2. He scored two goals in a match for the first time in his career in the 2–1 win against Lillestrom SK on 19 October. Stromsgodset finished fourth in the league, qualifying for the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, with Odegaard having scored 5 goals in 23 league games in addition to 7 assists.
In December 2014, during the Norwegian close season, he trained with the first teams at Liverpool, and Bayern Munich. He also visited Arsenal, to whom he would be loaned six years later. In January 2015, he trained with Real Madrid.
- Real Madrid
On 21 January 2015, Real Madrid reached an agreement to sign Odegaard from Strømsgodset, for a fee reported by Spanish media as around €3 million.
On 21 February 2015, he scored his first goal for the club in a 4–0 win over Barakaldo CF at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, opening the scoring after seven minutes. On 29 April, he was included in Real Madrid’s matchday squad for the first time for a home La Liga fixture against UD Almería, as Ancelotti was without Gareth Bale, Luka Modrić and Karim Benzema through injury. However, he did not feature in the 3–0 victory.
On 23 May, in the final fixture of the season, he made his debut for Real Madrid, coming-on as a 58th-minute substitute for hat-trick scorer and then-reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in an eventual 7–3 home win over Getafe CF. He became the youngest debutant in the history of the club at 16 years and 157 days old.
On 25 November 2016, he made his Champions League debut for Real Madrid in a 2–0 away win over Inter Milan.
On 27 January 2021, Odegaard joined English club Arsenal on a loan deal until the end of the season. Three days later, he made his debut against rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, coming on as a substitute for Emile Smith Rowe in a 0–0 home draw. On 14 February, he made his first league start for Arsenal in a 4–2 home win over Leeds United.
On 18 February, Odegaard started in his first Europa League match for Arsenal in a 1–1 away draw against Benfica in the first leg of the round of 32 tie. On 11 March, Odegaard scored his first goal for Arsenal with a 20-yard strike in a 3–1 away win over Olympiacos in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 tie. That goal was later voted as the Goal of the Month in March on the Arsenal official website. On 14 March, Odegaard scored in back to back games, picking up his first Premier League goal in a 2–1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur in the 203rd North London derby. Due to his stellar performance in March 2021, he was later voted as the Player of the Month on Arsenal official website.
On 20 August 2021, Arsenal announced the permanent signing of Odegaard from Real Madrid in a deal worth €35 million with potential add-ons rising to around €40 million. Odegaard signed a four-year deal until 2025 with the club having an option to extend for a fifth year.
Odegaard played for the Norway national under-16 football team in a tournament with Scotland, the United States and France in Turkey in January 2014. He played the full 90 minutes in all three matches, which resulted in a win versus Scotland and two losses.
He was promoted to the Norway national under-17 football team for the away match against Iceland on 28 February 2014. Odegaard came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute, and helped secure a 2–1 win for his country. Subsequently, he was in the starting line-up for the next three away matches; in the 3–0 win against Iceland on 2 March, in the 2–3 loss against Turkey on 25 March and finally in the 0–3 loss against Greece on 30 March 2014.
In September 2014, he was selected for the Norway national under-21 football team for the final match of the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification. He played the full match against Portugal, as a forward, but was unable to prevent the opponents from winning 2–1, despite being named Man of the Match.
On 19 August 2014, Odegaard was called up for a senior international against the United Arab Emirates in Stavanger and played the entire goalless draw on 27 August, becoming the youngest player to play for Norway at senior level, at 15 years and 253 days. The record was previously held by Tormod Kjellsen, who was 15 years and 351 days on his debut in 1910.
On 29 March 2015, Odegaard became the youngest player to start a European Championship qualifier at the age of 16 years and 101 days in a 5–1 loss to Croatia. On 8 June, he was man of the match in Norway’s 0–0 friendly draw with Scandinavian rivals Sweden in Oslo. After Norway came third in their qualification group, Odegaard was named in their squad for a play-off against Hungary. Unused in the first leg, he was substituted at half time in the second on 15 November, as Norway lost 2–1 on the night and 3–1 on aggregate.
After 18 months without a cap, Odegaard’s form for Heerenveen earned him a recall into Lars Lagerbäck’s Norway team and he earned his 10th cap against Macedonia in November 2017. On 7 June 2019, Odegaard scored his first international goal against Romania in a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying match, which ended with a 2–2 draw.
In March 2021, Odegaard was appointed as the captain for the national men’s team by the new manager Stale Solbakken.
Style of Play
Touted as a “modern” playmaker known for his deft touch, technique, dribbling ability, vision and range of passing, as well as his ability to provide precise, bending deliveries from dead balls and set pieces. The left-footed Odegaard is often compared to attacking midfielders Mesut Özil and Guti due to his creativity on the pitch and direct, incisive movement of the ball to create chances for his teammates.
In addition, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta also noted his exceptional footballing intelligence to find spaces on the pitch as well as his work-rate, stating that “he’s got a real stamina and he’s so talented. But his work-rate is incredible.” A hardworking player, Odegaard is an energetic, effective presser of the ball, often covering large distances in order to help his team win back possession. In both loan spells with Real Sociedad and Arsenal, Odegaard was statistically one of the most productive pressers on his team.
- Copa del Rey: 2019–20
- Tippeligaen Young Player of the Year: 2014
- Idrettsgallaen Breakthrough of the Year: 2014
- Eredivisie Player of the Month: April 2019
- Eredivisie Talent of the Month: May 2019
- Eredivisie Team of the Year: 2018–19
- Vitesse Player of the Year: 2018–19
- La Liga Player of the Month: September 2019
- Gullballen: 2019
- UEFA La Liga Revelation Team of the Year: 2019–20
Martin Odegaard plays for Norway National Football team.
Martin Odegaard lives at San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain.