Martin Ødegaard, Norway’s football wonderboy, finally took the field Saturday night for his new club, Real Madrid. Not only that, he stepped in for Christiano Ronaldo and even got a hug from the football superstar.
“I’m really happy and proud,” the 16-year-old Ødegaard told the club’s own TV channel after he became the youngest debutant ever for Real Madrid. After all the hype over his signing with the club last year, he had to spend half-a-year playing or sitting on the bench for the club’s B-team even though he trained with the A-team.
On Saturday he finally got his chance in a match against Getafe. The score was 5-3 in Real Madrid’s favour and a roar went up from the crowd when Ødegaard took off his warm-up jersey and ran onto the field wearing number 41, after the hug on the sidelines from Ronaldo.
And he did well, assisting on two potential goals and getting good reviews from commentators and teammates afterwards. Per-Mathias Høgmo, head coach for Norway’s national men’s football team, called Ødegaard’s long-awaited debut “an historic day for Norwegian football.” Høgmo also told website fotball.no that Ødegaard’s debut was “inspiring” for himself as well.