Brazilian wonder-kid Vinicius Junior is pleased with the debut season he’s had at Real Madrid.
The winger started off with the Castilla side, but was incorporated into the first team and eventually became an integral part of Santiago Solari’s plans.
The fact that the regulars under-performed habitually helped him break into the first team and announce himself to the world.
For all his talent on the ball, his shooting has been sub-par as evidenced by the fact that he scored just two goals in 18 La Liga games.
But the Brazilian is happy with how his season panned out and believes that he learned a lot from the first team.
“It was a great year for me,” he explained, talking to Japanese journalists as cited by Marca.
“I started with Castilla, but I knew what would happen sooner or later.
“I started playing and I learnt a lot. It was a shame that we didn’t do well in any of the three competitions, but the team had won three Champions Leagues. Unfortunately it can happen.”
Legendary Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has defended struggling Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane on the grounds that it’s always hard to reverse ‘negative momentum’.
Madrid have had a season to forget and Zidane’s re-appointment in March failed to have any impact on their disastrous season.
Del Bosque, who won two Champions League titles with Madrid, defended the Frenchman, insisting that reversing such a slide is complicated. The 68-year-old also pointed out that the team has had three managers in a turbulent year.
“Zidane isn’t going to ask me for advice,” Del Bosque told the press at the launch of the ninth edition of his Campus Vicente Del Bosque, according to Marca.
“Madrid have a good squad and I’m sure they’ll freshen it up a bit, but it’s a fantastic group.
“The worst thing for them has been to have three coaches and it’s complicated to reverse negative momentum. I’ve experienced it myself and I know how complicated it is.”
Martin Odegaard, remember him? It would be wrong to call it a career resurrection considering the Norwegian is only 20-years old.
But given world football seemingly gave up on his precocious talent after struggling following his initial move to Real Madrid back in 2015, his success this season is timely.
Indeed, a largely inauspicious loan spell at Heerenveen last term led many to believe his opportunity to force his way into Madrid’s plans was over.
However, the attacking midfielder returned to the Eredivisie in 2018/19 and has been instrumental in guiding Vitesse into Europe.
He’s scored nine times in the league, providing a further 12 assists which impressively is only bettered by Ajax pair Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech who are both enjoying the best returns of their respective careers.
Now, many detractors will use the fact he is plying his trade in the Netherlands as a caveat to his success. Yet, his performance against FC Groningen on Tuesday showcased abilities that matter little what level he’s operating at.
Odegaard created nine chances, according to Opta it was the joint-highest tally for an Eredivisie player this season with the coveted Ziyech.
He scored one and assisted the other two goals but he was the complete player, recovering the ball, pressing and tackling hard, crossing well and picking passes only elite playmakers could spot.
Martin Ødegaard vs. Groningen— Marc Geschwind (@MarcGeschwind) May 22, 2019
So many doubted him because he failed to make it at Real Madrid as a teenager, but Ødegaard is quite simply one of the very best youngsters in the world. Direct, positive, insanely skillful, and super intelligent — this kid will be a star. pic.twitter.com/MvY1sosTFe
His game is dependent on the injection of confidence because he is so direct, but having regained that this season, the Norway international has emerged as one of the premier young attacking talents.
Naturally, talk is ramping up about a potential return to Los Blancos next season and it’s obvious he could make an impact for Zinedine Zidane. One of Real’s biggest issues this season is just how blunt they are going forward.
Odegaard has that bit of magic to prise open defences.
However, there is interest elsewhere with Ajax reportedly interest in acquiring him on a permanent deal.
It seems unlikely the Spanish giants will sell, but with Odegaard turning 21 later this year, this is a crucial phase in his development.
After the foundation of his 2018/19 campaign, his next step be intriguing, but one thing is for sure, he’s just getting started when many thought his career at the very top level was done.
Check out the clip above to see highlights of Odegaard in action against FC Groningen