Odegaard doing 'everything' to reach Real Madrid stardom
Martin Odegaard remains determined to break into Real Madrid's first team and sees his time on loan at Vitesse as a big step towards achieving his goal.
For a player once regarded as a potential superstar and courted by Europe's most successful sides, the hype surrounding Odegaard has died down since he joined Madrid at 16 years old.
Now 19, the midfielder has spent almost two years in the Eredivisie, having joined Vitesse in the summer after an 18-month spell with Heerenveen.
A regular starter for Leonid Slutsky's team, he has two goals and an assist from 11 appearances in all competitions, and feels he is on the right track to reach the top of the game.
"I am satisfied, I'm finding my way more and more here [at Vitesse]," he told Voetbal International . "Recently, I finally scored. against Heracles. With that, there was a burden lifted off my shoulders. One of my goals is to get better statistics in goals and assists.
"I have to play and learn as much as possible. Of course, I hoped that I would have a place in Real's team. I was training all summer long and got some minutes in the first team. At the end of the summer, the club and I decided that it would be better for me to play elsewhere. That would be the best choice for my own development. Then you are looking for the best conditions for yourself. After the conversation with this coach [Slutsky], I knew it would be Arnhem."
He added: "You have to be modest and keep your goal in mind. How many 19-year-olds play in the first team of Madrid? The road is long and I am convinced of myself.
"Work hard, learn more in every game and make more minutes. My goal is clear: I want to play for Real Madrid. I do everything for that. My contract has already been renewed. I take that as a sign of trust. Vitesse is absolutely no step back, it is a step forward towards the top."
Odegaard scored a free-kick last week against Utrecht for his first Eredivisie goal of the season, and he expects to improve his efficiency as he matures.
"I am only 19, but I have been playing professional football for five years," he said. "Then I can expect that I will dare to be more dominant.
"I understand better what this team wants, what the coach wants and how we enjoy working. I feel I have come to the perfect place to take the next step. But it is first about the team. If I am important to that, then I will also do well. The free-kick was a great reward, but I will think longer about the missed opportunity after that."