Over the years, Real Madrid have been blessed with some of the brightest young talents to ever grace the football pitch, utilising their magnificent scouting network to attract upcoming stars from other clubs, such as Karim Benzema, Isco and Gonzalo Higuain, who all went on to have relatively good careers at the Bernabeu.
However, there has always been one particular youngster that was always deemed to be "The next big thing", yet he has done anything but that. Martin Ødegaard.
Real Sociedad have announced that Ødegaard will spend the 2019/20 on loan at the club from Real Madrid, as he hopes to fulfill his potential.
Ødegaard was tipped as one of the players that would be developed over time and eventually be slotted into the Real Madrid first team, but whilst he has played several times for Real Madrid's reserve team, Real Madrid Castilla, he has only featured twice for the first team.
Ødegaard was a bright talent at his first professional club, Strømsgodset in his native Norway, where he made his professional debut for the club aged just 15 years and 118 days, making him the youngest ever player to feature in the Tippeligaen, Norway's top division. He went on to have a fantastic season for the club, scoring five goals and registering six assists in just 23 league matches, with him playing as a central-attacking midfielder or as a right winger.
The youngster continued to impress as he was called up to the senior Norwegian national team at the age of just 15 years and 253 days, making him the youngest Norwegian to play in the team since 1910.
These impressive performances attracted the interest of a host of clubs from all over Europe, and he was given the opportunity to train with various clubs, such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, and eventually, Real Madrid.
Real Madrid seemed to like what they saw, and they opted to buy teenager from Strømsgodset for around €4 million, which could rise to around €8.5 million due to certain add-ons. He would eventually become the youngest debutant that the club has ever had, making his first team debut in the final game of the 2014/15 season, aged just 16 years and 157 days.
Eventually, after Ødegaard could not find a way to play just more than two matches for the first team in the two and a half seasons that he was at Real Madrid, he was loaned to SC Heerenveen in the Netherlands. After a difficult first few months at the club, he eventually locked down a starting position in the team during the 2017/18 season, earning him a new contract at Real Madrid that will keep him at the club until 2021.
After returning from his loan spell, he was awarded with some first team football, playing three games in Real Madrid's preseason, in the 2018 International Champions Cup, yet Real Madrid quickly announced that he will be loaned out once again for the next season.
Ødegaard was loaned out to another Eredivisie side, Vitesse, who are known to be very good in bringing up young talent. This loan spell was much more successful than the previous one, as Ødegaard impressed, scoring eight goals and providing 11 assists in 31 Eredivisie matches. In fact, he was the only player who did not play for Ajax or PSV to feature in the first team of the Eredivisie Team of the Season.
This time, his impressive performances have warranted an even bigger chance to impress, with him being loaned out to fellow La Liga side, Real Sociedad, as the Real Madrid faithful will get an even better glimpse of what the Norwegian has to offer.