The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had high hopes for a former Real Madrid team-mate who will finally fulfill his immense potential
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The 23-year-old playmaker looks set to finally find a home in the Emirates after years either on the sidelines or on the sidelines Santiago Bernabeu or loan spells to other clubs. During his time in the Spanish capital, Odegaard spent a lot of time at the training ground with the Los Blancos legend and five times Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.
The Norwegian’s move to Madrid caused quite a stir as he was just 13 when Europe’s biggest football clubs started expressing interest. At the age of 16 he was a real Madrid Players and training with both the first team and the reserve.
During an interview with BT Sport while still in Spain in 2014, Ronaldo was pressed for comment on the five players as he believed they would continue to enjoy a stellar career. “You see a lot of players with potential,” he explained.
“I’ll mention Martin Odegaard from Madrid for example, he’s still young at 16 but you can see he’s a very good player. He’s a great player, I think he’s a little boy, he can still grow . He has a good future ahead of him.” We have to give him time to learn and make his best decisions. But I see a lot of potential in the player, he has a good left foot.”
Things didn’t go well for Odegaard at Madrid, with the midfielder struggling to live up to the high expectations placed on his shoulders. Loans at Heerenveen and Vitesse followed before enjoying his most impressive spell away from the club at fellow Spanish side Real Sociedad.
Another loan spell at arsenal came shortly after before a permanent move to the Emirates sparked the best form of his club career. Six goals and four assists in the First League have reminded many of the kind of skills the 23-year-old has to show as he plays his part in the club’s top four.
Eight years after Ronaldo’s prediction, Odegaard is now a central figure in Arsenal’s hopes Champions League qualification and is considered one of the most important players in Mikel Arteta’s system. The midfielder is even being touted for the captaincy if Alexandre Lacazette leaves in the summer.
Odegaard is already captain of his country but his leadership skills set him apart from players of his age group and his unique rise to the top seems to have served him well. “He’s the captain of the national team,” explained the Gunners coach. “He’s definitely one of the oldest players here, even at his age, and that comes naturally to him.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-ronaldo-prediction-odegaard-form-26836426 Cristiano Ronaldo's 2014 prediction has finally proved correct at Arsenal