Louis van Gaal gives reasons why Martin Odegaard of Arsenal shouldn’t have joined Real Madrid

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Netherlands head coach, Louis van Gaal claimed that Arsenal attacking midfielder, Martin Odegaard made a bad career move by joining Real Madrid when he was 16-year-old.

The veteran coach said the 22-year-old Norwegian football star should have joined a Dutch club like Ajax or AZ Alkmaar for proper career development.

Recall that Odegaard was one of the most sought-after youngsters between 2014 and 2015 when he was playing for a Norwegian side, Strømsgodset. After a series of back and forth, Real Madrid succeeded in signing him in January 2015 for just €2.80 million.

Odegaard started his career at Madrid with the club’s youth side until January 8, 2017, when he gained promotion to the club’s senior team.

Unfortunately for the attacking midfielder, he could not establish himself in the club’s first eleven, hence, he had to go on loan to Heerenveen, Vitesse, and then Real Sociedad.

After over 5 years as a Real Madrid player, Odegaard managed to play only 11 times in all competitions for the Spanish giants.

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When it was obvious that he might not be able to establish himself at the club, the 22-year-old attacking midfielder decided to join Arsenal first on loan and then on a permanent deal on August 20, 2021. The transfer deal cost Arsenal €35 million.

Martin Odegaard in action for Arsenal.

So far this season, Odegaard has played for Arsenal 10 times in all competitions in which he scored a goal and provided an assist.

Ahead of Netherlands’ World Cup qualifier against Norway on Tuesday, November 17, Louis van Gaal was asked to pick a play in Norway apart from Erling Haaland, who he could bring to the Netherlands if he had the chance, the veteran coach picked Odegaard and Genk midfielder Kristian Thorstvedt.

Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands.
Coach Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands.

Louis van Gaal went on to analyze that Odegaard would have gotten a better football education if he had joined a Dutch side instead of the Spanish side.

“It is a simple answer. Ajax would be the best education,” Van Gaal told TV2 before Netherlands 2-0 win over Norway.

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“AZ (Alkmaar) is also a very nice place for young Norwegian players to go to.”

Before he made the aforementioned comment, Louis van Gaal revealed why he would have loved to have a player like Odegaard on his team.

“Odegaard is very creative and has very good passing. He can play the ball where he wants”, the former Manchester United coach said.

“When the player demands the ball in a good position he can give the ball. And he’s a team player. He stays a team player, that is very good.”

Recall that Louis van Gaal sustained a hip injury before the Netherlands game against Norway. The injury did not stop him from leading the Dutch team to grab a ticket to Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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They ended the qualification campaign with a 2-0 win over Norway on Tuesday which earned the Dutch side 23 points in 10 games.

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