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Zinedine Zidane criticises Martin Odegaard’s decision to join Arsenal

Zinedine Zidane insists he “really wanted” Martin Odegaard to stay at Real Madrid for the rest of the season – but the midfielder chose not to “fight for his place”.

Odegaard joined Arsenal on a six-month loan in the January transfer window and made his debut off the bench in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United.

The Norwegian playmaker was keen to leave the Santiago Bernabeu in search of regular minutes after starting just three La Liga games this season.

Nonetheless, Los Blancos boss Zidane claims he urged Odegaard to stay and stake his claim for game time, though his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Odegaard joined Arsenal last month in search of regular game time

Discussing the midfielder as he previewed Real Madrid’s trip to Huesca on Saturday, Zidane told reporters: “Odegaard? He wanted to leave, we talked two, three times about it.

“He wanted to play and I told him to stay and fight for his place.

“I’ve always wanted him in my team but it was his decision. I wanted him in my team.

The Frenchman insists Odegaard had a part to play for Real in the second half of the season
The Frenchman insists Odegaard had a part to play for Real in the second half of the season

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“I wanted him back from his loan [at Real Sociedad last season] and I told him to stay because the season is still very long and he would have had his chances.

“But he wanted to leave and play. I really wanted him in my squad.”

It appears Zidane may be set for further frustration over Odegaard, as Eurosport claims the player does not see his long-term future under the French manager.

The report adds he would rather stay at Arsenal than return to Real Madrid at the end of the season if Zidane is still in charge, and the Gunners are also keen on a permanent deal.

Meanwhile, doubt surrounds Zidane’s future as Real Madrid boss after his side were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by third-tier Alcoyano.

Los Blancos are also 10 points behind Atletico Madrid in the title race and their cross-town rivals also have a game in hand.

Did Martin Odegaard make the right decision by joining Arsenal instead of staying at Real Madrid? Have your say in the comments.

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