Arsenal captain Odegaard reacts to ‘unbelievable’ Rodri tackle as ulterior motive mooted

Will Ford
Odegaard Norway

Martin Odegaard believed he should have had a penalty after he was taken out by Manchester City star Rodri on Saturday night, in a challenge which could have had far worse repercussions for the Arsenal captain.

Mikel Arteta must have been sweating as Odegaard was seen writhing on the floor in pain after Rodri clattered into him as Spain took on Norway in Malaga.

Joselu scored a brace as Spain beat Norway 3-0 in the Euro 2024 qualifier, but Odegaard was convinced he should have been awarded a penalty.

Rodri caught Odegaard’s ankle with his studs in the penalty area and the Arsenal playmaker was baffled as to why French referee Benoit Bastien failed to point to the spot.

And Odegaard’s frustation with the decision was clear after the game, though he didn’t want to complain about the referee for fear of being sanctioned.

He told TV2: “I’m pretty sure I should have had a penalty. He’s coming with his studs right on my ankle. But I’m sure I’ll get punished [if I say anymore]. I don’t bother saying anything else about the referee. It’s better not to say anything.”

Norway manager Stale Solbakken branded the referee’s decision as “unbelievable”, adding: “It is a clear penalty! He finishes the shot and you can’t [foul him after]. If I knock someone down after the ball is gone, then it’s a penalty. I get a little bored of this.”

Some have claimed Rodri had an ulterior motive for the challenge given Odegaard will return to Arsenal after the international break and look to retain their lead at the top of the Premier League table over Manchester City.

But the playmaker escaped without injury and has a second game for Norway against Georgia before he returns to the Emirates.

And Odegaard focused on the positives in the 3-0 defeat to Spain ahead of that trip to Georgia.

He added: “We kept the ball and tried to play out from the back. We created some great chances that we have to put away. We didn’t, and they get goals out of nowhere really. Then it becomes a slightly uglier scoreline than it felt. We did a lot of good things, but we were not sharp enough in front of the goal.”

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