Martin Odegaard admits he struggled to fit in at Real Madrid

Tom Gott
Martin Odegaard is loving life at Arsenal
Martin Odegaard is loving life at Arsenal / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard has confessed he is enjoying the atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium after struggling to fit in at former side Real Madrid.

The Norway international joined Real back in 2017 but struggled to make a real splash at the Santiago Bernabeu, instead playing his best football away on loan. He shone with Real Sociedad in the 2019/20 season before earning himself a £30m move to Arsenal off the back of a six-month spell in north London.

Speaking to TV2, Odegaard admitted that life at Real was tough for him, suggesting he struggled to deal with the culture shock that came with swapping Norway for arguably the biggest club in the world at the time.

"Of course there were many tough periods," he said of his time at Real. "I experienced a lot with both the first team and the second team. I have been close to the best and biggest players. It made me stronger. 

"There were some tough periods, but also a lot of good that I have experienced. Being so close to the best in the world is special. I have learned a lot from it,

"When you are at the highest level, it is not as easy to make friends and that kind of thing. At least not when you are young and come from somewhere else. It can be tough at times. But it has made me stronger and I am very happy and pleased to have experienced it.

"You live your life on the outside. You become more left to yourself. It's not the same dressing room culture as you are used to at home, it's different."

When asked about the differences between the dressing rooms at Real and at Arsenal, Odegaard confessed they are 'quite big'.

"It's a large difference, I would say," he continued. "I think it's a bit like that at the biggest clubs, it gets a little more scattered and all that.

"I'm very happy where I am now, a very nice dressing room with a good bunch of players. It's nice and easy to thrive."