Martin Odegaard admits he struggled to adapt to Real Madrid’s dressing room and found it difficult to make friends before his return to Arsenal this summer.
Odegaard joined Madrid at the age of 16 and spent time on the fringes of the first team before he was sent out on loan to three different clubs.
The Norway international was kept at Madrid for the start of the 2020-21 campaign but after being unable to secure a regular role in the team under Zinedine Zidane he was allowed to join Arsenal on loan.
Odegaard was quick to make an impact with the Gunners and Mikel Arteta’s side were able to secure a permanent deal this summer after Madrid opted to sell the midfielder.
And Odegaard believes that the positive difference he has experienced with Arsenal’s dressing room has made it ‘easy to thrive’.
‘Of course there were many tough periods,’ Odegaard told TV2 when asked about his time at Real Madrid.
‘I experienced a lot with both the first team and the second team. I have been close to the best and biggest.
‘It made me stronger. I feel I have grown a lot on it.
‘There were some tough periods, but also a lot of good that I have experienced. Being so close to the best in the world is special. I have learned a lot from it.
‘When you are at the highest level, it is not as easy to make friends and that kind of thing.
‘At least not when you are young and come from somewhere else. It can be tough at times. But it has made me stronger and I am very happy and pleased to have experienced it.
‘You live a little of your life outside. You become more left to yourself. It may not be the dressing room culture you are used to from a little closer to home. It is different.’
When asked how big the difference is between the dressing rooms at Arsenal and Real Madrid, Odegaard replied: ‘It’s quite large, I would say.
‘I think it’s a bit like that in the biggest clubs. It gets a little more scattered and all that.
‘I’m very happy where I am now, a very nice dressing room and a good bunch. It’s nice and easy to thrive.’
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