Odegaard: My goal is to play for Real Madrid

first_imgMartin Odegaard remains determined to break into Real Madrid’s first team and sees his time on loan at Vitesse as a big step towards achieving his goal.For a player once regarded as a potential superstar and courted by Europe’s most successful sides, the hype surrounding Odegaard has died down since he joined Madrid at 16 years old.Now 19, the midfielder has spent almost two years in the Eredivisie, having joined Vitesse in the summer after an 18-month spell with Heerenveen. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! A regular starter for Leonid Slutsky’s team, he has two goals and an assist from 11 appearances in all competitions, and feels he is on the right track to reach the top of the game.”I am satisfied, I’m finding my way more and more here [at Vitesse],” he told  Voetbal International .  “Recently, I finally scored. against Heracles. With that, there was a burden lifted off my shoulders. One of my goals is to get better statistics in goals and assists.”I have to play and learn as much as possible. Of course, I hoped that I would have a place in Real’s team. I was training all summer long and got some minutes in the first team. At the end of the summer, the club and I decided that it would be better for me to play elsewhere. That would be the best choice for my own development. Then you are looking for the best conditions for yourself. After the conversation with this coach [Slutsky], I knew it would be Arnhem.”He added: “You have to be modest and keep your goal in mind. How many 19-year-olds play in the first team of Madrid? The road is long and I am convinced of myself.”Work hard, learn more in every game and make more minutes. My goal is clear: I want to play for Real Madrid. I do everything for that. My contract has already been renewed. I take that as a sign of trust. Vitesse is absolutely no step back, it is a step forward towards the top.”Odegaard scored a free-kick last week against Utrecht for his first Eredivisie goal of the season, and he expects to improve his efficiency as he matures.”I am only 19, but I have been playing professional football for five years,” he said. “Then I can expect that I will dare to be more dominant.”I understand better what this team wants, what the coach wants and how we enjoy working. I feel I have come to the perfect place to take the next step. But it is first about the team. If I am important to that, then I will also do well. The free-kick was a great reward, but I will think longer about the missed opportunity after that.”last_img read more

Mourinho plays down Herrera row

first_imgManchester United ‘I had to push him away – he always wants to speak!’ – Mourinho plays down Herrera rift Goal 17:12 11/5/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Jose Mourinho Ander Herrera Manchester United Getty Images Manchester United José Mourinho Chelsea v Manchester United Premier League The Portuguese has rejected any talk there was friction following the recent loss to Huddersfield and is delighted with how his side are performing Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said that he “loves” his players – and that the feeling is mutual.Ander Herrera spoke out in frustration after the Old Trafford side suffered a surprise loss to Huddersfield in the Premier League a fortnight ago, sparking rumours of a fallout with the Portuguese, who has insisted that this could not be further from the truth.Indeed, Mourinho has said that he gets on with all his staff and hit out at the media for stirring speculation. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “I was not speaking with Ander Herrera anymore? Pfft!” he said. “Ander Herrera is the kind of guy that I have to push away because he wants to speak with me all the time! I don’t know where you get these kinds of stories but, yes, I am happy.“I love my players. You try to create a mystery because of my reaction after Huddersfield, but there is no mystery about it.”With three wins in succession behind his team, Mourinho is very content with how the season has panned out to date but would not be drawn on what gave him the most pleasure three months into the season.“We lost one match in August, September, October. Premier League, Champions League, League Cup – we lost one match,” he emphasised.“So, I think it was easier to ask what was the unpleasant thing, or what thing I didn’t like – it was the match against Huddersfield.”On Sunday, Mourinho takes his side to defending champions Chelsea, after leaders Manchester City play host to Arsenal.last_img read more

Kylian Mbappé has it all – even at £166m he could be a bargain

first_imgIt’s important to be clear about one thing: other sides will not give Kylian Mbappé as much space as Argentina gave him. He may never again find himself in a major game romping through such vacant pastures.There will be cones in training sessions who give him more of a race than Argentina’s defence did on Saturday, although they probably won’t kick him quite so hard or spend quite so much time grabbing at his shoulders. This was the perfect game for Mbappé. But he took full and ruthless advantage. The loneliness of Lionel Messi and Edinson Cavani shows up – World Cup Football Daily Uruguay would have provided a very different threat anyway. Deschamps suggested that Mbappé needs more space than Ronaldo, and Óscar Tabárez’s team will not give him anywhere near as much of that as Argentina did. The quarter-final will be a different test and a different magnitude of test, but Mbappé is on the sort of upward trajectory that, within the confines of a tournament, makes anything seem possible. The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Facebook Much was made of the fact that, at 19, Mbappé became the first teenager to score two goals in a World Cup knockout match since Pelé in 1958, but one 19 is not the same as another 19. By 19, Wayne Rooney was a fully developed player (and, given Euro 2004 was his peak, arguably already past his best as an England player). Mbappé, physically imposing as he is, has started only 44 league games.His career consists of half a season at Monaco when he seemed suddenly to emerge, fully formed, as a terrifyingly effective forward in the Champions League, followed by a season on loan in Neymar’s shadow at Paris Saint‑Germain pending a £166m transfer this summer.For a player so untested that figure seemed extraordinary when it was agreed but it is increasingly coming to look like a bargain. There is still a question of where he fits in a team dominated by the look-at-me self-indulgence of the Brazilian but, even in classes dominated by the greatest attention-seeking show‑off, the other kids can still learn. Getting to France, and playing alongside somebody as comparatively selfless as Olivier Giroud, who laid on his second goal with a deftly weighted pass, must seem a tremendous relief.Although Didier Deschamps, putting aside for a moment the grumpiness that has characterised his World Cup, was moved to indulge a comparison to the Brazilian striker Ronaldo, it was another star of the 1998 World Cup Mbappé more obviously evoked. Twenty years to the day after Michael Owen’s goal against Argentina, Mbappé produced a remarkable tribute to win the penalty that gave France their 13th-minute lead. It would be another five and a half months before Mbappé was born. There was, perhaps, less technical ability required for him than Owen – there was no feather touch with the heel to pull the ball into his stride, no sudden cut outside to go past the final defenders – but the sense of awe at the sheer pace of it felt familiar. That’s three goals now for Mbappé at this World Cup (Owen was the last teenager to score two at a tournament) but just as important is the sense of balance he has given France. “In such an important match, he’s shown all his talent,” said Deschamps. “And even if he was supposed to defend, he still did attacks, and very good ones.” That criticism was presumably, at least in part, a joke – they seem not to come naturally, but he did seem to signal he wasn’t being entirely serious by bearing his teeth for a moment as he waited for the next question – but the point of the system he has instilled is that it is necessary for Mbappé to play on the front foot.With Blaise Matuidi a more defensive presence operating on the left, if Mbappé does not get forward France’s shape, as it often did in the group stage, becomes a narrow 4-4-1-1. Mbappé breaking forward, going beyond Giroud, is as essential to their balance as Matuidi tucking in on the other side is. Matuidi will miss the quarter-final against Uruguay through suspension; Deschamps’s task is to retain a balance that allows Mbappé his freedom without compromising the stability of the midfield. Share on WhatsApp World Cup 2018 France Twitter Kylian Mbappé scores the first of his two goals against Argentina in their last-16 meeting. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images The running styles are different as well: Owen a blur of roadrunner legs, Mbappé an astonishingly smooth and graceful acceleration, broad chest cruising through the open space of midfield as Éver Banega and Javier Mascherano gave hopeless pursuit before the surge right past a panicked Marcos Rojo, who denied him his Owen finish by pulling him down. In truth, by then Mbappé may have overrun it, but it didn’t matter; he had induced sufficient fear to draw the mistake.His goals, though, would come. His first showed remarkable awareness to know where the space was in the box and technical ability to move across a thicket of players to find it. Franco Armani, perhaps, might have done a little better, seemingly caught between trying to save with foot or body, but credit is due Mbappé for striking the shot early enough that the keeper could not get himself set into a more balanced position. The second was perhaps easier, a low shot past an exposed keeper, but it followed the sort of breakaway that should over the years becomes a trademark. Share on LinkedIncenter_img Topics Reuse this content Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Pinterest Share via Email features World Cup Listen Share on Messenger Paris Saint-Germainlast_img read more