Real Madrid and Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard admits he visited Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United prior to moving to the Bernabeu. The 16-year-old swapped Tippeligaen side Stromsgodset for the La Liga giants during the 2015 January transfer window, snubbing a host of Premier League sides along the way.
Odegaard has made just one appearance for Real since moving to Spain, featuring in the final day win over Getafe at the end of last season – a cameo that saw him become the club's youngster ever player. The starlet trains and plays for Real Madrid's reserve side Castilla, which is managed by World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane.
The Norwegian protégé is regarded as one of the hottest properties in Europe and prior to moving to Real was being tracked by the likes of Liverpool, City and United. Odegaard had spent time training with the Reds but the player has now confirmed for the first time that the Manchester duo were also interested in his services.
"I visited Liverpool, the two Manchester teams [City and United] and they were all very nice but my choice was Real Madrid and I am very happy with that," said Odegaard, according to The Daily Mail, after playing for Norway Under-21s against England. "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 [Real Madrid manager] Rafa Benitez but not too much at the minute. My focus is to become a better footballer and develop every day. Maybe [England] will happen in the future and the time will show but right now I am very happy where I am with my club and the situation there. Zidane is a great coach, a great man to learn from. He was one of the best in the world and it is a privilege to work with him."
The revelation regarding United's interest in Odegaard is of particular interest given the recent scrutiny of the club's dealings in the transfer market, which has seen them miss out on acquiring a number of big-name players. Furthermore, the Old Trafford club came in for criticism from Real regarding the handling of David de Gea's proposed move to Madrid, which fell through on deadline day.