Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard 'made the right decision' to join Heerenveen
Martin Odegaard says he is happy to continue his progression at Heerenveen next season, and he is confident he still has the faith of the hierarchy at Real Madrid.
Odegaard joined Madrid amid much publicity in January 2015 in a deal worth a potential €8 million when he was 16 years old.
During two years with the club he played mostly for the club's Castilla youth side, making just one substitute Primera Division appearance and a sole Copa del Rey start.
Since joining Heerenveen last January on an 18-month loan deal in order to play regular senior football, Odegaard has appeared 17 times for the Eredivisie side, getting his only goal in their unsuccessful end-of-season Europa League playoff semifinal against Utrecht.
He told Norway's TV2 that he had taken the right decision in joining Heerenveen as it was better for his development.
"It was important for me to play at the highest level," Odegaard said. "To not do that, I could have stayed in Madrid, where you train every day with the best. At the end of the season there was another year here agreed. I feel I took the right decision. I have joined a club which is good for me and have a good history of improving young players."
Odegaard said that breaking immediately into the first team squad at Madrid would have been ideal, but he was happy to be patient and wait for his chance.
"I would have liked to have more opportunities at Madrid, but I knew how difficult it was going to be when I got there," he said. "I had the chance to train with the best players in the world, and the club still has faith in me.
"They said I was going to stay with them, and they still wanted to invest in me. I am not talking so much with Zidane, but I speak regularly with the head of scouting. They watch my games and follow me closely."
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