Few would argue if, after Lionel Messi, Martin Odegaard was presented as the best player in La Liga. His year in San Sebastian has allowed the world to see how refined his immense talent has become. Data gathered from Wyscout and later analyzed by DatoBHJ — a data analytics account — revealed that Martin Odegaard, alongside Lionel Messi, was far and away the La Liga leader in “creative passes” for players who have played 900+ minutes in La Liga this season. For those unfamiliar with the term “creative passer”, it encompasses three data metrics: “xA/90”: expected assists per 90 minutes, “through passes”: a direct pass that goes beyond the defensive line, leading the attacking player in a 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper, and “smart passes”: high risk and creative pass that leads the attacking player in a good position to continue the attack. Normally, the pass is between 2-3 opposing defenders. Take a look at where Martin plots vs others central midfielders like Toni Kroos, Ever Banega, and Santi Cazorla:
Most creative passers in La Liga season 19-20 pic.twitter.com/25MWhXD286— DB (@DatoBHJ) March 16, 2020
“Creative Passers” is one of the best metrics to measure Odegaard’s impact. His numbers transcend across all of Europe’s top five leagues, placing him in the top 2% just behind the likes of Messi, Neymar, and De Bruyne:
Most creative passers in the big 5 leagues season 19-20 pic.twitter.com/4a1H4aN8aJ— DB (@DatoBHJ) March 15, 2020
Time will tell if Zidane and the club decide ultimately decide to recall Martin a year early or allow him to honor his two year agreement with Real Sociedad. Irregardless of the decision, it is clear that any team in the world would welcome the prospect of an elite passer in the final third, especially a team like Real Madrid who currently struggle to score goals.