Martin Odegaard

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La Liga roundup: Granada tops table Real Sociedad stays close (video)

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Granada’s rise to the top of the table highlights La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Granada 1-0 Real Betis

Perhaps the biggest storyline in what is still a young La Liga season is recently-promoted side Granda’s impressive season.

With only two losses and a historic 2-0 win over Barcelona this season, Diego Martínez’s side are separating themselves from the notion that they’re running on luck, and instead are gravitating towards becoming a legitimate force within the league.

On Sunday, for a second time this season, the Andalusian side reached the La Liga summit – albeit El Clasico was postponed due to Catalonia’s political crisis.

The game boosted only a goal – a gentle strike inside the six-yard box from Alvaro Vadillo – but saw a handful of chances be wasted by both sides. Real Betis, who are in the relegation zone as a result of the outcome, controlled the possession of the ball and accumulated a total of 12, although none were on target.

Betis manager, Rubi, who joined the recent Europa League competitors this summer, is expected to be back on the dugout midweek, although his job hangs on a thread.

That said, a lot will be on the line when Betis receives Celta Vigo midweek, while Granada, on the other side of the spectrum, look to keep defying the odds as they travel to Getafe.

Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Sociedad 

Over the summer, Real Sociedad bet on two Scandinavian youngsters Alexander Isak and Martin Ödegaard, signing the former to a permanent deal and bringing in the latter on a loan from Real Madrid.

Long story short, they’ve payed dividends thus far for La Reala, who climbed up to third in the table following their 1-0 victory against Celta Vigo.

The youthful duo had everything to do with the visitor’s win in Balaidos.

In the 82nd minute, after taking the field seven minutes earlier, Isak’s unbalanced left-footed strike struck the inner-portion of the net. Ödegaard, as vigilant as ever before, picked out the Swedish attacker and assisted what would be his game-winning goal.

Real Sociedad now aim to continue their positive run going as they host Levante, while struggling Celta hope they can edge Real Betis, who are also experiencing a sour moment themselves.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Levante 0-1 Espanyol 

Sevilla 2-0 Getafe 

Osasuna 3-1 Valencia

VIDEO: Odegaard continues fine form with dazzling assist

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Remember Martin Odegaard? As it turns out, writing him off at 18 years old might have been a mistake.

[ MORE: Barcelona gets $329 fine for tampering with Antoine Griezmann ]

The 20-year-old (yes, really) Norwegian midfielder had already scored twice (and played ever minute) in Real Sociedad’s still-young La Liga campaign ahead of Thursday’s home bout with Alaves. Sociedad cruised to a 3-0 victory to go second in the league table and Odegaard, who’s still being loaned out by Real Madrid in the hopes he eventually delivers on his seemingly limitless potential, put on a bit of a show.

First, there was the nutmeg. Then, there was the 25-yard diagonal through ball to split four defenders before stopping the ball on a dime just out of reach of goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco, so Mikel Oyarzabal could swoop in and touch it home a fraction of a second before Pacheco arrived.

Inch-perfect.

[ MORE: If Klopp left Liverpool, he would back Gerrard to replace him ]

Odegaard was never short on the flash and flair — the “wow” factor — but he rarely came delivered the end product which comes from working within the confines of the team setup, while also still managing to turn heads and drop jaws. Sure, six games is a dangerously small sample size, but Odegaard appears to have fully bought into what manager Imanol Alguacil demands of him, and that’s a thoroughly welcome development for the rest of us.

Odegaard reportedly chooses two-year loan at Real Sociedad

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Martin Odegaard was linked with an upgrade from the Eredivisie to the Bundesliga, but is hoping to give Real Madrid a close-up look with his third loan stint in as many seasons.

Not 21 until December, the once “next big thing” finally had a breakout campaign last season when he scored 11 goals and added 12 assists in 39 matches on loan from Vitesse.

[ MORE: France-USWNT recap | Player ratings ]

It was another step up after a decent but unspectacular loan stint at Heerenveen the previous season, and he reportedly turned down interest from Ajax in order to make his latest move.

So now it’ll be a move to La Liga despite links to Bayer Leverkusen, a German club who would’ve provided Champions League football to the playmaker.

Real Sociedad is the club in question and it’s a two-year loan for La Liga’s ninth place club last season. Odegaard will be managed by Basque Country mainstay Imanol Alguacil.

Odegaard has a goal and two assists in 18 caps for Norway. This is a big chance for him to impress Real, or impress someone else to make a big offer for the boy who once caused a bidding war amongst Europe’s biggest clubs at age 15.

Transfer rumor roundup: Many circle around Real Madrid

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Given the major buys of Real Madrid this summer, it’s no surprise that clubs are trying to take advantage of La Liga’s giants need to sell talent.

While Gareth Bale‘s future is the target of many transfer reports, there are many other pieces destined to move away from the Bernabeu.

Real has been tempting Financial Fair Player this summer, backing up the armored cars to the banks of Chelsea (Eden Hazard), Eintracht Frankfurt (Luka Jovic), and Eder Militao (Porto) amongst others.

AS says that AC Milan is asking about Dani Ceballos, Mariano Díaz and Martin Ødegaard.

The 25-year-old Diaz cost Madrid more than $22 million to buy back from Lyon last summer after an 18-goal Ligue 1 season in his only season away from Real. He scored three times in limited minutes last season, and has said he wants to prove himself at Real despite a link to Fenerbahce.

Odegaard’s recruitment was an exhaustive journey that ultimately landed him at Real. Now 20 with 18 Norway caps, Odegaard has made just one senior appearance for Real since choosing the Madrid side after his time at Stromsgodset. He posted eight goals and 11 assists for Vitesse in the Eredivisie last season.

Ceballos turns 23 in August, and scored a career-high three goals this season. His best position is unclear, but the six-times capped Spanish international has a Champions League crown and a U-21 EURO Player of the Tournament award.

The trio could earn Real somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million, though, and Ceballos has been linked with Spurs while Odegaard linked with another loan (Bayer Leverkusen, another step in his progression).

Real is said to be willing to give Spurs a good fee, $57 million, and Ceballos in exchange for Christian Eriksen. That would not help the FFP argument, but would make a certain amount of sense to Tottenham should they value Ceballos.

Eriksen posted eight goals and 12 assists in Premier League play, adding two and four in the Champions League. He won’t turn 28 until February.

Odegaard leaves Real Madrid for another Eredivisie loan

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Four years ago, Martin Odegaard was perhaps the most coveted wonderkid in the world of soccer.

[ MORE: Pogba’s agent hits back at critics, dares Man United to sell Pogba ]

Today, nearly 48 months after joining Real Madrid as a 16-year-old, Odegaard has made more loan moves away from the club (2) than first-team starts (1 – 2016, in the Copa del Rey round of 32). The Norwegian has not yet made his La Liga debut.

Madrid announced on Tuesday that the 19-year-old has joined Eredivisie side Vitesse on a season-long loan. Odegaard most recently spent a season and a half on loan to Heerenveen, eighth-place finishers in the Dutch first division last season. He scored three goals in 38 league appearances over 18 months.

[ MORE: Klopp: “Nobody thinks about” $100-million Van Dijk fee anymore ]

“The past year and a half I have played in the Eredivisie,” Odegaard said upon joining Vitesse. “I was impressed by Vitesse. I got to know Vitesse as a good footballing team, with an offensive and dominant view of the game. I think that way of playing is good for me. Vitesse has also shown that it gives young players a chance. That is why I am happy with the opportunity that Vitesse offers me.”