Joining Real Madrid like going to Disneyland - Alvaro Odriozola
New Real Madrid signing Alvaro Odriozola says that the chance to join the Bernabeu outfit from Real Sociedad was impossible to turn down -- just like being offered a trip to Disneyland as a kid.
Odriozola, an unused squad member with Spain at this summer's World Cup, has joined Madrid for a fee of around €40 million after coming through the ranks at La Real and impressing over the last 18 months at his hometown club.
Some reports had claimed that Barcelona also approached the Basque youngster, with Madrid chief Florentino Perez saying at Wednesday's presentation event at the Bernabeu that the 22-year-old had shown his "winner's DNA" by moving to the "most demanding club."
Asked why he had chosen to join Madrid at this point, Odriozola told reporters at the event that joining the biggest club in the world was like a childhood dream come true but he was now focused on working hard to make it a success.
"Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world and in history, so you could not say no," Odriozola said. "It is like when your father comes and asks you if you want to go to Disneyland. It's clear. I see myself as a very ambitious person and my biggest challenge is to be a success at Madrid. I am coming here to fulfil that challenge, and give 100 percent. To enjoy every moment through hard work, exertion and humility."
Madrid still had the best players in the world, Odriozola said, even after the club's record goalscorer and reigning Ballon d'Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus earlier this week.
"Everyone knows [Ronaldo] is a Madrid legend, and everyone respects him," he said. "But we must look to the future. A new era is starting, I look around the dressing room and see that the best players are here. I am going to enjoy playing with them, and it will be a great experience."
Odriozola now joins up at club level with new Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui, who gave him his first senior Spain cap last season when Lopetegui was still in charge of the national side.
"I was with Julen this morning and he told me I must give everything, that this was a club with brutal demands," he said. "I like him a lot as a coach, he knows football but above all is a specialist at getting his message across to the group. That will be really good at a club like Madrid."
Odriozola is now expected to understudy his Spain senior colleague Dani Carvajal, with last season's reserve right-back Achraf Hakimi having left for Borussia Dortmund.
"I am not afraid of any challenge," he said. "I have enormous respect for Carvajal, he has been a role-model for me. I will give 100 percent for this jersey."