After Luka Jovic's brilliant return to Eintracht Frankfurt - two goals in 28 minutes - Martin Odegaard went to speak with Zinedine Zidane.
He also wanted to go on loan during this winter market until the end of the season, according to Real Madrid sources familiar with the conversation.
He wanted to play games, instead of lengthening his routine, more and more frequent, of watching them from the bench.
So far this season, the Norwegian, who just turned 22, has 367 minutes spread over seven league games and two Champions League games.
Only Mariano, Militão, Jovic and Odriozola have played less than him.
And he is not confident that the trend will change.
In the club's offices they understand the discontent of the footballer, who in the summer was reluctant to rejoin from Real Sociedad.
There he had shone with a central role, and he still had a year left on loan that both he and the San Sebastian club wanted to consume.
However, after falling in Manchester against Guardiola's City in the last 16 of the Champions League, on the return trip Zidane asked to recover Odegaard to refresh an aging and short-staffed midfield.
It was the post-pandemic summer, and the president, Florentino Pérez, had already announced that there would be no hiring, but that the plan to balance the accounts consisted of getting rid of cash, collecting sales and lightening the weight of some payrolls.
In this context, Odegaard became the only relevant signing for Madrid.
The movement seemed optimal: it did not entail an expense and, furthermore, at a time when compelling competition could not be added to the squad, the institution's strategic plan abounded in giving shape to the group of young people in which Madrid has invested hundreds of millions of euros in recent years.
The Norwegian was at a point in his career, after scoring seven goals and giving nine assists in 36 games for Real, his first contact with the Spanish First Division.
But the experiment in the capital was soon twisted, after forming in the starting eleven in the first two league games, against Real and against Betis.
The last time he stepped onto the pitch with Madrid was on January 2, five minutes against Celta at the Alfredo di Stéfano.
The previous one had been a month earlier, on December 1, when he started against Shakhtar in Kiev.
Until the market opened and he told Zidane that he wanted to go to a team that would give him minutes.
In the offices they understand him: “You have to make young people play.
Why do you bring him if not? ”They wonder.
And that question, which also contains some complaint, summarizes the great divergence that gradually moves away the strategic plans of the institution from the coach's day-to-day behavior.
After seeing the escape and hatching of Jovic, 23, and Odegaard's request, they point out what they believe could be the next fire in the locker room of the future: Fede Valverde, who is 22. In the environment of the Uruguayan soccer player, At the moment, they do not point in the direction of discontent, but they emphasize that he does not drag the consequences of his last injury nor does he need to refine his physique: "It's like a shot," they say.
While the divergence between strategy and execution was still brewing, and after the talk in which Odegaard asked him to leave, Zidane appeared this Tuesday morning in Valdebebas in the preview of the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday against Alcoyano (21.00, Telecinco and Dazn).
He did not speak of the Norwegian, but he extended in a special way about his management of young footballers in the wake of the German liberation of Jovic.
"It is easy to say that I am to blame," he started.
“I always love my players.
There was also talk of Reguilón [sold to Tottenham last summer], that it was my fault.
There are times when players, when they stay, they know what they have.
Real Madrid is complicated and difficult, I have lived it as a player.
And then there are times when they have to play.
It's what Luka has done.
He is 21 years old, it was a good option to buy from him and I am happy for what he is doing [at Eintracht] so that one day he can enjoy the same at Real Madrid.
But of course, playing inside and outside is different.
He is 21 years old and has the future to show what he is like as a player at Real Madrid ”, he explained.
And he also left something that sounded like reproach for the complainants: “And this is the same for everyone.
What you have to do is, when you are inside, show yourself, with the competition that there is, that it is strong.
But it is not the fault of the coach.
The player has to demonstrate and it is what they want ”.
Then he left Odegaard off the list for Wednesday's game, without the club adding official explanations as to whether the absence was due to physical problems or his decision.