Martin Odegaard is the best known 16-year-old footballer on the planet, and if negotiations had gone a little differently last season, he could be a Liverpool player now.
The Norwegian wonderkid and his father are known to be huge Liverpool fans, but decided it was best to sign for Real Madrid last January from boyhood club Stromgodset.
“I visited Liverpool, the two Manchester teams and they were all very nice but my choice was Real Madrid and I am very happy with that,” said Odegaard, reported in the Mail.
“Madrid is very good. It is the best place if you want to become a better footballer. I have been given the No 10 shirt (at Castilla) and it is a big responsibility having that number but it is the one that I like and I am just going to enjoy it.
“I have spoken a little bit with Rafa Benitez but not too much at the minute. My focus is to become a better footballer and develop every day.”
With Odegaard still a while from his 17th birthday, there’s no guarantee that he’ll even reach the highest echelons of the game – although the fact he’s already got six caps for his country suggests he’s as good a chance as any his age.
If he does, we may rue his decision this summer. Real Madrid though could offer the playmaker proper competitive men’s football in the Spaniard third division and an enormous wage – while we’d have had to use him in the uninspiring Under-21s, or send him on loan to the Championship…
It’ll be interesting to watch Odegaard’s development regardless, as few teenagers have ever had to learn the game under the kind of scrutiny the Norwegian will over the coming years.