Real Madrid: Three foundational players to build around

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Martin Odegaard
Real Madrid, Martin Odegaard (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Martin Ødegaard

Martin Ødegaard is a rare case. His quality is undoubted, but he’s yet to prove himself at Real Madrid. He didn’t get minutes in the first half of the 2020/21 season, due to regular injuries, tactical problems, and other midfielders being in form. But he’s still the most talented youngster Real Madrid have, and the fans trust him the most.

His ability to find the attackers in perfect positions and break the low blocks with a single pass makes him very special, but there are certainly some problems with his position. He is a playmaker, but he is an attacking midfielder (or a number ten), and he isn’t a central midfielder who can play in a 4-3-3. Zidane had tried a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate Ødegaard, but it didn’t work because of some issues in the systems.

He didn’t do that well in the limited chances he got, but he wasn’t at fault for the failure of the 4-2-3-1. And he’s definitely a player around whom you can build a team. His best position is that of a number ten in a 4-2-3-1, and if there are players in the squad who can do well in that formation, then we might see a world-class team in the making. And he needs to focus on his defensive work rate as well because the managers expect players to adapt to their systems and most of the times it’s not the other way.

Maybe he was a bit impatient in the way he acted in January and left for Arsenal because of the lack of opportunities. But he had waited 5 years for this opportunity and it’s a bit unfair to call him impatient. If he returns to the club and he can adjust to the system or we get players suited for a 4-2-3-1, we might see a future pillar of Real Madrid.