The current Manchester City boss was eager to buy into the Norwegian midfielder’s potential while calling the shots at the Allianz Arena
Pep Guardiola wanted to make Martin Odegaard “the best player in the world” during his time at Bayern Munich, claims Jan Age Fjortoft, with the Catalan missing out alongside Liverpool as the Norwegian starlet headed to Real Madrid.
A prodigious talent burst onto the scene as a teenager at Stromsgodset and his potential was quickly noted by leading sides across Europe, with heavyweight outfits from England, Spain and Germany positioning themselves towards the front of a transfer queue.
Guardiola urged Bayern to win that race and deliver him a player that could be transformed into an elite midfield playmaker.
Those pleas fell on deaf ears, with Real Madrid snapping up a hot prospect that is still waiting on a big break at Santiago Bernabeu.
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Fjortoft, who was part of the Norway national team set-up at the time Guardiola stated his intentions, told the Here We Go Podcast of what he was told by a Catalan coach: “You have to bring that boy to Munich, you have to bring him to Munich! I will make him the best player in the world.”
Fjortoft played a part in conversations regarding Odegaard’s future and has revealed that a highly-rated countryman ended up heading to Spain as Real have a B team for those still learning their trade.
“Later, when we returned, I, as a coach of the Norwegian national team, invited Martin, his father and the national team coach to my home,” Fjortoft added on discussions that took place in 2015.
“At that time I wrote down on a piece of paper which four clubs I thought at that time were closest to signing Odegaard. Liverpool, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
“As you know, Liverpool was his favourite club, his childhood club.
“In my opinion, I still think the reason he ended up at Real Madrid was quite simple. Firstly, Real Madrid had a second team, the other three clubs didn’t.
“The coach of the second team was Zinedine Zidane. He’s not a bad player, he’s not a bad coach.
“Michael Reschke, who is now at Schalke, was responsible for the recruitment of Munich at the time. I met him after Martin chose to go to Real Madrid and he told me: ‘If I had known that the second team would be crucial, I would have built a second team to achieve that’.”
Odegaard has been restricted to just six appearances for Madrid, but four of those have come this season as he is welcomed back into the Blancos fold by Zidane after taking in a series of loan spells at Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad.