Hans Erik Ødegaard
15 year old wonder kid Martin Ødegaard from Strømsgodset is already one of the most exciting players to watch in the Norwegian top division. Martin Ødegaard (born 17 December 1998) is a Norwegian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Strømsgodset IF and the Norway national team. He made his debut for the club on 13 April 2014, becoming the youngest player to play in the Tippeligaen, and became its youngest goalscorer on 16 May.
International teammate Morten Gamst Pedersen dubbed Ødegaard the most talented player he had ever seen, saying "For his age he is unbelievable - his knowledge of the game is unbelievable and his technical skills are fantastic". Pedersen also stated that Ødegaard needed time to build up his physique.
Ødegaard made his international debut for Norway against the United Arab Emirates on 27 August 2014, becoming the youngest debutant for the senior team at the age of 15 years and 253 days. On 13 October he became the youngest player to feature in a qualifier for the UEFA European Championship.
Martin Ødegaard is the son of former footballer Hans Erik Ødegaard, who played as a midfielder for Strømsgodset IF and Sandefjord Fotball and is now assistant manager of Mjøndalen IF. He was still attending a local lower secondary school (Børresen School) when he made his professional debut, but has since completed the compulsory education in Norway. His football idol is Lionel Messi and he is a fan of English club Liverpool.
Martin Ødegaard, who played for Strømsgodset´s junior team and the club´s third team, began training with the Strømsgodset first team in 2013, aged 14. He also had short training visits to Bayern Munich and Manchester United. In January 2014, it was agreed that Ødegaard would be part of Strømsgodset´s first team in 2014, but no contract was signed. As part of the agreement, he trains two evenings a week with Mjøndalen IF, where his father is one of the coaches.
Martin Ødegaard made his debut for Strømsgodset in a match against Aalesunds FK at Marienlyst Stadion on 13 April 2014. Aged 15, he became the youngest footballer ever to play in Tippeligaen. He signed a professional contract for 2014 and 2015 with Strømsgodset on 5 May 2014. On 16 May 2014, he scored the fourth goal for Strømsgodset in a 4-1 home victory against Sarpsborg 08 making him the youngest person to score a goal in Tippeligaen.
He made his European debut on 16 July, replacing Lars Christopher Vilsvik for the final five minutes of the club´s 1–0 home defeat to Steaua Bucuresti in the Champions League second qualifying round.
Martin Ødegaard´s major breakthrough happened with the away match against Sandnes Ulf, in late July, where he was involved in all three goals of his team, scoring one and having one assist. He was also fouled for a penalty, which was missed by Sørum. After the match, media were discussing his possible debut on the Norwegian national team.
On 19 August 2014, he was called up for a senior international against the United Arab Emirates in Stavanger and played the entire goalless draw on 27 August, becoming the youngest player to play for Norway at senior level, at 15 years and 253 days. The record was previously held since 1910 by Tormod Kjellsen, who was 15 years and 351 days on his debut.
On 30 September 2014, he was called up to Norway´s European Championship qualification matches against Malta and Bulgaria. Martin Ødegaard made his competitive debut in the latter, replacing Mats Møller Dæhli in the 64th minute of a 2–1 home win. At the age of 15 years and 300 days, this made him the youngest player to ever play in the European Championship qualification.
On the 22 January 2015 Martin Ødegaard signed a contract with the Champions League winners Real Madrid. He said "It´s a dream come true", "It is a bit unreal that I´m here at the biggest club in the world. It´s huge for me, an honour."