Odegaard says Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid appointment is 'positive'

Martin Odegaard says Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid appointment is ‘positive’ as he prepares to return after Arsenal loan… despite the Italian describing his high-profile arrival at the Bernabeu in 2015 as a ‘PR exercise’

  • Martin Odegaard joined Real Madrid from Stromsgodset in January 2015 
  • He has been out on four loan spells since, most recently at Arsenal in 2020-21 
  • But Odegaard says he has a good relationship with Italian boss Carlo Ancelotti  
  • He claimed his ‘PR exercise’ comments have been misinterpreted by many 

Martin Odegaard believes Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Real Madrid is a good thing for the club despite the Italian’s comments six years ago describing his arrival as a ‘PR exercise’.

The 22-year-old joined Madrid from Stromsgodset in his native Norway in January 2015, four months before Ancelotti’s two-year spell at the club would come to an end.

Odegaard has been out on loan four times since leaving Norway for Spain, most recently at Arsenal for the second half of the 2020-21 season.

Martin Odegaard (front) believes the return of Carlo Ancelotti (back) to Real Madrid is ‘positive’

That is despite Ancelotti describing Odegaard’s arrival at the club aged 16 as a ‘PR exercise’

The Gunners confirmed on Thursday that Odegaard’s contract will officially end at the end of the month and that he will now – initially at least – return to Los Blancos, where Ancelotti has just taken over from Zinedine Zidane for a second spell at the club.

Now speaking to Norwegian outlet TV 2 Sporten, the country’s national team captain insists Ancelotti’s arrival from Everton is ‘positive’ but admitted he does not yet know if and how the Italian intends to use him next season. 

‘It is a coach I know and with whom I had a good relationship when he was last there,’ Odegaard said.

‘In that sense, it is positive. But beyond that, one day has passed, so I do not know too much about what he thinks about things.’

Odegaard has been on four loan spells since, most recently at Arsenal for the second half of the 2020-21 season

The Gunners announced on Thursday Odegaard will return to Madrid with his deal set to expire

Writing in his book Quiet Leadership: Winning Hearts, Minds and Matches in 2016, Ancelotti claimed Madrid president Florentino Perez was behind bringing a 16-year-old Odegaard to Spain.

He wrote: ‘When Florentino buys a Norwegian footballer, you simply have to accept it.

‘Furthermore, the president decided that he would play three games with the first team as a public relations exercise.

‘He could be the best player in the world, but I don’t care because he was not a player who I asked for. That signing was to do with PR.’

Ancelotti returned to the club earlier this week for a second spell to replace Zinedine Zidane

However, speaking five years later, Odegaard insists the comments have been misinterpreted, and added that he believes Ancelotti was trying to say that he was going to be a future star.

‘There was a bit of talk about it last time,’ Odegaard added. ‘Then I think maybe it was misinterpreted a bit by some, but that’s the way it is. It’s not something I stress about. 

‘What he said was probably just that I was a player for the future. And that in Madrid you often do not have as good a time as a coach. It was probably more what he said, so I do not put much into it.’

Asked whether Ancelotti will be a success at Real, Odegaard replied: ‘Yes, I absolutely believe in that.’

Reports in Spain suggest Ancelotti trusts Odegaard, but that Dani Ceballos (R) may be sold

Reports from ABC in Spain claim Ancelotti is not intending to make a signing in midfield this summer because he trusts Odegaard, although they are reportedly open to selling Dani Ceballos, who spent the last two years on loan at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners moreover remained coy on the possibility of Odegaard returning, adding to their statement confirming the departures: ‘All developments regarding players extending their contracts; joining/re-joining us; or leaving us will be officially communicated as soon as they are confirmed.’

Odegaard scored two goals and and recorded as many assists from 20 appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side this season, but will now have the whole summer to consider his future after Norway failed to qualify for Euro 2020.  

Odegaard will have the whole summer to consider his future after Norway failed to qualify for Euro 2020

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