In an exclusive interview by Hotstar with Martin Ødegaard, the Arsenal captain has revealed his personal experiences in football. From his younger days with trials at many clubs, before his big money move to Real Madrid and now making it at Arsenal, the Norwegian shares things about his life that he hasn’t spoken about before.
When asked who inspired him to play football, Martin Ødegaard said:
“My dad inspired me to play football because he was a footballer himself. He was my coach, from when I was young, I think from when I was 5 till 12 or 13. He knew a lot of things about football that the other parent didn’t, so I grew up watching him play football and that’s how I got into football and since then I’ve been in love with football. Playing around when I was a kid with the ball and I’ve done it my whole life so that’s how it started.”
On meeting Arsene Wenger at the age of 15:
“It was pretty special to meet all these guys [former Arsenal players] when I was so young but I remember very well I was here [in North-London] to train and I met him [Wenger] and he made a great impression on me. I was close to coming here, but during the end I went to [Real] Madrid. But finally I came here so that’s the most important thing.”
On advice he would give himself at 16:
“I would just say the same thing I’ve done my whole career is to work hard and always believe in yourself. That’s the main thing and that’s what I’ve done my whole life so I would say the same.”
On one athlete whose work ethics he admires:
“When I went to [Real] Madrid I was training there and I saw Cristiano Ronaldo and how he was taking care of his body and how professional he was and how hard he was training, and Sergio Ramos as well. And seeing everything he [Ramos] did for me to be there as a young boy and see the best players in the world, what they did to perform at the best was a big inspiration.”
On Arsenal player which he looked up to the most:
“If I have to say one player I will probably have to say Fabregas. He’s a player I looked up to when I was younger and he played in the same position that I did so he was someone I loved.”
On favourite thing to do to relax and switch off:
“Just be with family and friends and don’t think too much about football, just do other things.”
On what he learnt under Mikel Arteta:
“For me it’s been especially important the way he’s made me understand my position, on what areas to attack, what to stay at on the pitch to be dangerous. That’s been the key thing to me and my game.”
On how motivated is Arsenal after losing out on the title last season:
“Obviously we ended last season in a bad way and we were all really disappointed. But at the same time we have to be aware of all the progress we’ve made and how far we’ve come and use the disappointment of not winning in a good way and to come back even stronger. We started [this season] in a good way, winning a trophy and everyone is excited to get started again.”
The 24-year-old Arsenal captain has had a unique career in terms of being at a big club like Real Madrid from just 16-years-old. The Norwegian has definitely benefited from having high level players around him as he’s learnt from the likes of Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric throughout his whole career.
To the delight of Arsenal fans, that is now benefitting the Gunners with Martin Ødegaard applying his trade in the Premier League and absolutely smashing it under Mikel Arteta.