Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has selected his 20-man squad which will travel to Gelsenkirchen for the Champions League Round of 16 first-leg match against Schalke 04, and a surprise omission from the team is Norwegian teenager Martin Odegaard.
Odegaard was a major transfer target this winter, with all of Europe’s top clubs attempting to persuade the 16-year-old to join their squad. The Norway international ended up signing for Real Madrid, even though officials stressed that the teenager would spend most of his early time at the club playing for the reserves (Real Madrid Castilla).
Part of deal allows for Odegaard to train with the senior squad, but the majority of his playing time would come as a member of Castilla under the instruction of club legend, Zinedine Zidane.
But earlier this month, Ancelotti added the Norwegian to his Champions League squad for the knockout stages and it was learned that the manager had the teenager in training with the first team this week. The anticipation was Odegaard may be in line for a call-up to the senior squad versus Schalke. But it has been confirmed today that the youngster will have to wait to make his European debut.
This weekend, Odegaard was substituted for Castilla after only 45 minutes against Amorebieta after struggling to showcase his skills on a rain-soaked pitch – the match would end in a 1-1 draw.
Had Odegaard made an appearance for Real Madrid against the Schalke 04, the Norwegian would have become the youngest player ever to appear in the Champions League.
For now, that distinction will remain with Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro who was 16 years and 87 days old when he played for Anderlecht against Steaua Bucharest in 1994.
Other news regarding Real Madrid’s 20-man match day squad are the additions of reserve team players Álvaro Medrán and Derik Osede.
With Ancelotti short of players in defense, the addition of Osede is an understandable one since the 21-year-old is one of the club’s best centre-back talents. The defender has yet to make a debut for the senior squad, but has appeared with for Spain’s under-19 team at the 2012 European Championship.
While Medrán had already made his domestic and European debuts with Real Madrid. The 20-year-old midfielder replaced Gareth Bale during the club’s 4-0 win of Ludogorets in December and scored a goal in the 83rd minute.
Real Madrid’s 20-man squad against Schalke 04 is as follows:
Keepers: Casillas, Navas and Pacheco.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Derik, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Nacho.
Midfielders: Kroos, Bale, Isco, Illarramendi, Medrán and Lucas Silva.
Forwards: Ronaldo, Jesé, Benzema and Chicharito
Programming note: Schalke 04 vs. Real Madrid will be shown LIVE on Wednesday, February 18th at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.