Martin Odegaard has revealed that Barcelona rivalled Real Madrid for his signature before he eventually plumped to sign for the Bernabeu side.
The Norwegian elected to leave Stromsgodset in 2015 to join up with the Liga outfit, but despite being hailed as one of the game’s great young talents, he was unable to make an immediate impression with Los Blancos.
Odegaard still only has one league appearance for Madrid to his name, while he has been shipped out on loan in three successive seasons, first to Heerenveen and Vitesse in the Netherlands, and now to Real Sociedad in Spain.
It is with Sociedad that he is expected to line up against Barca on Saturday, with the midfielder, who will celebrate his 21st birthday next week, revealing that he might have joined the Catalan side had history been different.
"There were many teams that called my father and, yes, he travelled to Barcelona once, but in the end it was not the move for me," he told Noticias de Gipuzkoa.
"I think my football would fit Barcelona, but I believe that’s also the case with Real Madrid. They want to win well and play with that offensive style… I like Spanish football where all teams are strong."
Meanwhile, he is looking forward to the challenge of playing against Ernesto Valverde's side, and is particularly eager to lock horns with Lionel Messi.
"He and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best in the world and it’s special to play against them," he said. "I like his style, of course. I can learn a lot from him by seeing how he does things, but he’s on another level and I don’t ever want to compare my game with him, he’s amazing.
"Barcelona are playing very well just now but I think we can beat the best teams. Against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, we were fine. It will be special and we want to play a good game and give them problems."
Sociedad lie fourth in La Liga, seven points behind Barca, who lead the way on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid.