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Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard: I have a job to finish at the Bernabeu

Martin Odegaard has spent the vast majority of his Real Madrid tenure playing with the club's reserve side.
Martin Odegaard has moved to Heerenveen on an 18-month loan deal.

Norwegian youngster Martin Odegaard has told Sport Bild he "still has a job to finish" at Real Madrid.

Odegaard, who joined Madrid at the age of 16 in January 2015, has made only one substitute La Liga appearance and joined Dutch club Heerenveen on an 18-month loan deal earlier this month.

But the Norway international stressed that he wanted to gain more experience and return to Madrid for "another attempt" at breaking through.

"My time at Real is not over yet," he said. "I am looking forward to Madrid and I have a job to finish there.

"[Madrid coach Zinedine] Zidane wished me the best of luck and told me that I should just continue on my path at Heerenveen."

During his two years in Spain, Odegaard trained daily with the first team and dropped to the Castilla youth team at weekends, making 62 appearances and scoring five goals.

Asked whether the move to Heerenveen marked a decline in his career, he said: "I don't see it that way.

"I now have the chance to play in the upper Dutch tier. That's a step ahead, actually.

"You know that it's incredibly hard to get playing time [in Madrid's senior side]. It's the best team in the world.

"Every day in training is like a competitive match. I learned a lot. They are friendly, point you in the right direction and help you."

Odegaard had been linked with loan moves to Liverpool, Stade Rennes and Borussia Monchengladbach before joining Heerenveen and said: "I know that there were many rumours, but I can't say which clubs were interested.

"My dad and the agents listened to everything and presented me with the best option.

"Heerenveen have a young team, and they have shown in the past that talents have the best conditions to make the next step there."

Odegaard stressed that he needed to work hard to prove himself, adding: "I am not a 'wonderkid' -- I see myself as a normal lad.

"I might have a big talent, but I need to work as hard as others to have success. Nothing just comes to you from nowhere."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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