Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has admitted privately that it was a mistake to let Martin Ødegaard leave to join Arsenal in January.
That’s according to Defensa Central, who say the French coach believes Real Madrid would have won La Liga already if they’d had him in the squad.
Ødegaard joined Arsenal on loan in the January transfer window, having grown frustrated at a lack of playing time at the Bernabeu.
He wanted to continue the progress he enjoyed on loan with Real Sociedad last season and so sought out the move to the Emirates to do so.
He’s been a regular for the Gunners since while Madrid have endured something of an injury crisis that’s left Zidane short of options to rotate.
Having Ødegaard could have been useful, and according to Defensa Central, Zidane has admitted letting him go to Arsenal ‘did a lot of damage’.
He’s convinced having the Norway international would have allowed him to rotate more, and so key players like Luka Modric and Toni Kroos would have been more rested at this point in the season.
Indeed, his feeling is that Madrid would have been champions and not reliant on Atlético Madrid slipping up to have a chance.
And that is all well and good, but it is worth remembering that it is Zidane who refused to play Ødegaard in the first place.
It is, therefore, a little bit strange to believe he now thinks he would have been key.
He could have changed his mind, of course, but Zidane has never struck us as the kind of manager who would back down from his opinion or admit his mistakes.
If this is true, though, it’s a further indication that should Zidane remain at Madrid next year, Arsenal’s chances of keeping Ødegaard are slim.