Biography

Martin Odegaard

Norwegian Footballer
Martin Odegaard
Martin Odegaard (Photo: Arsenal Media / YouTube / Screengrab)

Martin Odegaard is a Norwegian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Arsenal.

Martin Odegaard

• Date of birth: 17 December 1998
• Age: 23 years old
• Place of birth: Drammen, Norway
• Nationality: Norwegian
• Position: Attacking midfielder
• Height: 178cm / 5ft 10ins
• Weight: 68kg / 149lbs
• Wages: £85,000 per week (Unconfirmed)

• Instagram: @odegaard.98

The 23-year-old playmaker was born in Drammen, Norway in December 1998 and began his youth career at local sports club Drammen Strong.

He then joined the youth set-up at Stromsgodset in 2012 when he was 13 years old. Three years later he earned a move to Real Madrid, where he featured for the Spanish club’s reserve team – Real Madrid Castilla.

Odegaard made a handful of appearances for the Real Madrid first team before he joined English club Arsenal on a six-month loan deal in January 2021.

The north London club then opted to sign Odegaard on a permanent transfer in the summer of 2021 after his initial loan spell came to an end.

Odegaard has represented Norway at various youth levels and made his senior debut for his country in 2014.

So, what do we know about Martin’s journey to becoming the talented playmaker he is today? This is his story.

Early Life, Family And Upbringing

Martin Odegaard was born on 17 December 1998 in Drammen, Norway. His father, Hans Erik Odegaard, is a former footballer who played as a central midfielder.

Speaking in an interview back in 2014, when he as 15 years old, Odegaard lifted the lid on how his father helped to instil the right attitude in him as a young player.

“Dad has never talked about winning, about being the best,” said Odegaard. “It has only been about development. About getting a little better all the time. It should be fun, stress-free, harmless.

“He always says that it is not dangerous to make mistakes. He wants me to make a mistake. And try again. He has always encouraged using the ball.”

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard (Photo: Arsenal Media / YouTube / Screengrab)

Youth Career

After spending the early years of his career at local sports club Drammen Strong, where his father was the coach of his son’s team for a period.

In 2009, Odegaard joined the youth set-up at Stromsgodset, a Norwegian club based in Gulskogen, Drammen.

Odegaard began training with the Stromsgodset first team when he was just 13 years old, in 2009.

He made his league debut for Stromsgodset in a match against Aalesunds FK at Marienlyst Stadion on 13 April 2014, when he was 15 years and 118 days old. The appearance made him the youngest player to feature in the Norwegian Premier League.

On 5 May 2014, he signed a professional contract with Stromsgodset, running until the end of 2015.

In December 2014, during the Norwegian close season, Odegaard trained with Liverpool FC and Bayern Munich, and also visited Arsenal. He then trained with Real Madrid in January 2015 and a move to the Spanish club beckoned.

Real Madrid

On 21 January 2015, Real Madrid reached an agreement to sign Odegaard from Stromsgodset, for a fee reported to be around €3m (£2.3m).

Odegaard was 16 years old at the time. He would train with both the first team and the reserves, but play for the second string, who were at the time coached by France great Zinedine Zidane.

“It’s a dream come true,” Odegaard said at his unveiling as a Real Madrid player in January 2015. “It’s incredible. It’s an honour to join the best club in the world. I don’t feel the pressure but it’s different to play for Real Madrid than for Stromsgodset. I will try and enjoy this dream as much as possible.”

Odegaard made his first-team debut for Real Madrid on 23 May 2015, coming on as a 58th-minute substitute for Cristiano Ronaldo in a 7–3 home win over Getafe. He became the youngest debutant in the history of the Spanish club, at 16 years and 157 days old.

He made his first start for Real Madrid on 30 November 2016, when he played the full 90 minutes against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa Del Rey round of 32.

Odegaard was then sent out for a number of loan spells. First, he joined Dutch club SC Heerenveen in January 2017. He then joined fellow Dutch side Vitesse in the summer of 2018 on another loan deal.

In the summer of 2019, Odegaard was loaned to Real Sociedad for another season. The three loan spells were productive for Odegaard, who featured regularly at the clubs as he gained some valuable first-team experience.

In January 2021, Odegaard was on the move again – this time to the Premier League.

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard (Photo: Arsenal Media / YouTube / Screengrab)

Arsenal

Arsenal initially signed Odegaard from Real Madrid on a six-month loan deal in January 2021.

He made his debut for the Gunners on 30 January 2021, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a goalless draw with Manchester United at The Emirates in the Premier League.

Odegaard scored his first goal for Arsenal on 11 March 2021, when he netted the opener in a 3-1 victory over Olympiakos in the Europa League round of 16 first leg.

He netted for the first time in the Premier League for the Gunners on 14 March 2021, netting in a 2-1 north London derby victory over Tottenham Hotspur at The Emirates.

Odegaard completed his loan spell with one goal and two assists in 14 Premier League appearances. In the summer of 2021, he initially returned to Real Madrid.

Posting on Instagram on 3 July 2021, Odegaard said: “Thank you so much for these six months. My time with the Arsenal family will always hold a special place in my heart. I wanna thank everyone in and around the club for the way you made me feel like a part of the family since the first day.”

However, Odegaard would be returning to Arsenal sooner than he may have thought at the time.

On 20 August 2021, the Gunners announced the signing of Odegaard from Real Madrid on a permanent basis in a deal reportedly worth around €35m with potential add-ons rising to around €40m. He was handed the number eight shirt.

Speaking on the day the deal was announced, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “He is still a really young man but he has huge experience in different clubs already. He has a unique talent based on the way we want to play so I’m delighted that the club has made an effort and we have Martin on a permanent deal here.”

Meanwhile, Odegaard himself wrote on Instagram: “Damn, it feels good to be back! Great feeling to commit myself to this amazing club for the long term this time.”

Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard (Photo: @odegaard.98 / Instagram)

International Career

Odegaard represented Norway at various youth levels, including Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-21.

He made his senior debut for Norway against the United Arab Emirates on 27 August 2014, when he was just 15 years and 253 days old, making him the youngest player to ever feature for the side.

On 7 June 2019, Odegaard scored his first senior international goal against Romania in a Euro 2020 qualifying game, which ended with a 2–2 draw.

What Have Others Said?

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, speaking about Odegaard’s performance in the Gunners’ 2-0 victory over Leicester City in March 2022: “He was terrific again today in every aspect of the game, what he had to do in defending, when we were high, when we were deep, in build-up phases, in the final third, the way he understands and manages the game when needed. I think he’s come a long way since his arrival, he’s showing great maturity and responsibility on the pitch and he makes the other players better I think.”

Former Tottenham star Garth Crooks, speaking about Odegaard after picking him in his team of the week in March 2022 following his display in a 2-0 win over Leicester City: “In a performance that was not scintillating but professional – and I thought Leicester were poor – Odegaard looks a touch of class.”

Arsenal legend Ian Wright, speaking about Odegaard in March 2022: “There’s a calmness around the club and I think Odegaard in the way that he plays he’s one of the main reasons for that. For me, the ‘playmaker’ is back. You know, the number 10 and the way that he’s playing. The way that he gets in those positions that he gets into but then it’s the calmness. Like I said he doesn’t rush. This is what you want, this is what you want from a midfielder not just somebody that’s going to go sideways…it’s ‘bam’.”

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