Football: Ancelotti wants to nuture Odegaard talent

Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard (above) has a great future but needs time to settle into his new life, said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Friday. -- PHOTO: EPA
Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard (above) has a great future but needs time to settle into his new life, said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Friday. -- PHOTO: EPA

MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted on Friday that Norwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard has a great future but needs time to settle into his new life.

A complete unknown only a year ago, Odegaard's transfer to Real Madrid has set his fledgling career soaring towards the summit.

But Ancelotti said the European champions would not be rushing the youngster who will be paid a reported US$60,000 (S$80,000) a week.

"It's difficult to think that Odegaard could play (in the first team) straight away," Ancelotti told a press conference.

"He's very young, we have to be patient with him. We're all convinced he'll play and will be an important player for Real Madrid.

"Looking ahead, I really think that with his qualities, his intelligence, he will be a Real Madrid player... Odegaard represents the future of this team."

The 16-year-old midfielder had long been courted by some of Europe's top clubs.

Real, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Liverpool were all reportedly in the race to sign the teenager who has three caps for Norway.

He will train with Real Madrid's first team but play with the reserve side - Real Madrid Castilla - which is coached by former France star Zinedine Zidane.

"We're really keen for him to arrive, we're convinced that he will have a big future," said Ancelotti. "We're happy, but we have to remain calm concerning him."