Martin Odegaard's first Real Madrid start bittersweet after goalless draw at Real Sociedad

Martin Odegaard's first Real Madrid start bittersweet after goalless draw at Real Sociedad
Martin Odegaard's first Real Madrid start bittersweet after goalless draw at Real Sociedad

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Martin Odegaard said he was pleased to make his long-awaited first La Liga start for Real Madrid but the Norwegian midfielder admitted his milestone was offset by the goalless draw at Real Sociedad.

Odegaard moved to Real Madrid as a 16-year-old in January 2015 amid much fanfare, but his projected rapid rise to the first team did not initially go to plan.

After loan spells in the Netherlands with Heerenveen and Vitesse, the midfielder joined Sociedad on a two-year temporary deal, but having shone for the Spanish side last season, was recalled by Real Madrid one year early.

Odegaard's first chance to impress came against the Basque club on Sunday as he made his full Madrid league debut more than five-and-a-half years after arriving from Stromgodset.

Odegaard is the closest thing to a new arrival as Madrid head into the new Primera Liga season after making no new signings this summer, and president Florentino Perez admitting the club has to be cautious amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But there have been a string of departures, including Gareth Bale, whose loan move back to Tottenham was confirmed on Saturday, and James Rodriguez, who has already impressed after joining Everton.

Norwegian Odegaard, whose only other league appearance for Madrid came in May 2015, lasted 69 minutes before he was replaced by Casemiro.

"We didn't get the win. I'm not happy about that, but I'm pleased to play with Real Madrid," Odegaard told Movistar. "It's always a bit difficult at the start but it's easier for me with all these incredible players I have around me."

Zinedine Zidane has brushed off suggestions his Real Madrid side could lack freshness this season, with a familiar XI starting this first game.

One notable omission was Eden Hazard, whose fitness remains unresolved, even after the summer break. Zidane admitted he was unsure whether Hazard has recovered from the ankle injury that required him to have surgery earlier this year.

Sergio Ramos, three goals shy of a century for Madrid, watched an acrobatic effort blocked in a quiet first half before Karim Benzema dragged wide of the post after rounding the goalkeeper.

Alexander Isak spurned the best chance when Thibaut Courtois spread his body well to block from the young Swedish striker.

Teenager Ander Barrenetxea side-footed just past the post early in the second half for the hosts while Alex Remiro made comfortable stops from Dani Carvajal and Benzema.

David Silva made his La Liga return after a decade with Manchester City as he took the place of Isak for the final 25 minutes.

"It's two points lost but we struggled to make chances, particularly in the second half. We had two or three in the first half," said Zidane.

"We played a good game, especially defensively. We didn't concede anything but we lacked a bit in attack, and above all, a goal."

Barcelona do not start their league campaign under new manager Ronald Koeman until next weekend against Villarreal.

Granada lead the table with maximum points after two rounds following Sunday's 2-1 victory over Alaves.

Real Betis trail on goal difference after beating Real Valladolid 2-0 with a penalty from Nabil Fekir and a William Carvalho goal.

Updated: September 21, 2020 10:41 AM

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