With Martin Odegaard moving from Stormsgodset in the Norwegian league to Real Madrid we look at the pressures he’ll face during his six year contract
One of the distinctly irritating parts of getting old is that it appears so many people around you are going through the process in reverse. Policemen, for instance, get younger and younger over the years till you find yourself stopped for speeding by a uniformed teenager, who you swear shouldn’t be up that late on a school night, their carefully practiced sarcasm and passive aggression all the more annoying for their acne. Oh I know it’s a perspective thing, but that doesn’t make it any the less irksome.
Strangely the same isn’t so true of sports stars. The medalists at the Olympics were smiley happy young people when you watched as a child, and indeed they still are now all these years later. Sprinters are always in their twenties, swimmers a bit younger, the gymnasts have always looked like they’re from a particularly harsh kindergarden from which they only freed themselves using various forms of acrobatics and choreography to escape like Baryshnikov and Hines in “White Knights”.
That’s not to say, however, that every once in a while there won’t be some ridiculously young “wunderkind” (wonder kid) who’ll burst upon the scene with much hype, fanfare and expectation, the full glare of the media upon them, the hopes and aspirations of a nation or team plonked squarely on their shoulders to see if it’ll make them or break them. They’re often given much too much, much too young and the results are splashed across the faux-outrage of the tabloids, frequently their only real crime being the stupidity of youth.
Of course there are success stories, even in the white-hot crucible of the EPL, David Beckham started at 17, Wayne Rooney even younger at just 16, and despite the former now being married to one of the Spice Girls and the latter being a potato-headed liability who should be retired, banished or possibly just cut up and made into chips, it is hard to argue that their professional careers haven’t been a dazzling success. Oh, yes…….except when they wore an England jersey.
Pressures Of The Press
Their lack of success with the national side, international performances rarely reflecting their abilities seen week-in week-out for their club, were often put down to the pressure placed upon these young players by the expectations of the fans, the press, and indeed the nation. The press particularly can be a harsh task master, your every error poured over and analyzed, each mistake hung around your neck forever, clubs often bowing to supposed public pressure whipped up by the newspapers’ screaming headlines.
• 16 year old Odegaard signs for Real Madrid
• Stormsgodset play on without him
• ComeOn! Sportsbook offers odds on the game
Beckham and Rooney were relatively lucky that they were both such vapid mutton-headed envelopes for their talent. The press rarely asked them their opinion on weighty matters not because they didn’t want to tell their readers what these heroes thought, but because they were too embarrassed to admit they’d help make heroes out of morons. Gambling news readers that bought the tabloids to be informed (a contradiction in terms) wouldn’t actually notice was probably one of the safer bets the British press ever made.
Not that it’s just the press in dear old blighty that savages their sports stars first covering them in adulation, then criticism, then outright damnation, hatred and ignominy. Wherever there is football there is a hungry fanbase who want to know everything and they want to know it now, from what they eat, wear or listen to, what they thought about this or that moment of the last game, what they think of the next game, of their manager, of their fellow players. The most popular sport in the world is covered in the most detail.
What effect all this will have on the newest of these unfeasibly young footballers remains to be seen but you can probably bet hugely that the pressure he felt taking to the field for a league team in Norway wasn’t perhaps as it will be when he moves to start playing at one of the richest and most successful clubs in Spain and indeed the world. It is no poor reflection on the Norwegians, but the Spanish are mad about football and this new child prodigy will find his life changing in many ways under this new level of scrutiny and observation. Not that we should feel sorry for him for even a moment.
An Ode To Odegaard
If Odegaard doesn’t sound much to conjour with (despite actually sounding like a word uttered in a magical incantation) at the moment, rest assured this won’t be the last you read of Martin Odegaard Norway’s latest sporting export because he’s magic. At just 16 he has signed a six year deal to play at Real Madrid having cut his teeth, as it were, in the Norwegian Tippeligaen playing for Stromsgodset. The attacking mid-fielder said it was like “a dream come true” and described the Bernabeu based team as “the best club in the world”.
His brief appearance before the press to announce the deal went smoothly with the young man himself showing few nerves, his manner that of someone enjoying the attention despite having to be on their best behavior. Whether that novelty will wear off, or perhaps just how quickly it will, remains to be seen but for now he’s not put a foot wrong. His smile as he held aloft a Real shirt with his name emblazoned on the back was entirely genuine, and who wouldn’t smile at the prospect of Spain rather than Norway in February?
Naturally Stromsgodset play on in the Norwegian Tippeligaen with them facing a tough game on Wednesday night against Valerenga, made all the more difficult by having just lost Odegaard who was arguably their best player. Those of you that like to bet on sports in Norway can easily find decent odds on this class at ComeOn! Sportsbook where right now Stromsgodset are a bit distant at 3,20 compared with Valerenga’s far healthier 2.15, with the bet of the game a draw at 3.35. Of one opinion or another there will be some vocal fans at that game.
Elsewhere in the Tippeligaen the close games of the night are Monjadalen vs Viking and Stabaek IF vs Haugesund FK, with the margin between them tight, the favorites in both cases sharing an expected 2.40 to 2.65 advantage in odds. A draw in both these games is steady at 3.45. Molde will probably easily beat Odd, and Rosenborg is unlikely to be overly troubled by Aalesund. You can find odds for the games and the rest of the league despite frankly bizarre Norwegian gambling laws at ComeOn! Sportsbook this and every week.