Second-placed Real Madrid host Real Sociedad on Saturday hoping their decision to loan Martin Odegaard to their fellow high-flyers will not come back to haunt them.
Odegaard joined Real at 16 in 2015, making just one appearance for the first team before embarking on a series of loans, first in the Netherlands and now in the Basque Country, where he is due to stay for another season.
The forward has been in fine form, scoring two and setting up three, as Sociedad have made a brilliant start to coach Imanol Alguacil’s first full season at the helm. They sit two points behind Real with 23 from their 13 games.
“It’s a special game for me,” Odegaard said. “But truth be told, it doesn’t matter if it’s against Madrid or any other side, all I want to do is play.
“I think that we’ve made a good start to the season. We’re up towards the top, which is where we want to be, and I’m happy with how I’m playing too.
“My goal is to make it at Real Madrid. That’s why I signed for them, to play there. I’m in no rush, though. I’m happy here and if I play for Madrid two or five years down the line, it doesn’t matter.”
Real will be without James Rodriguez for the game, but could welcome back Gareth Bale who has not played for the club since October, but was involved in both games as Wales qualified for Euro 2020 this week.
Barcelona, who sit top of the table ahead of Real on goal difference, head to bottom side Leganes earlier on Saturday.
The minnows caused a shock last season with a stunning 2-1 victory against the Catalans, and will be hoping to take advantage of their opponents’ mixed start to the season to spring another surprise.
Unfortunately for them, Lionel Messi continued his outstanding goalscoring form over the international break, netting in both of Argentina’s games to make it 11 goals in his last nine appearances for club and country.
Third-placed Atletico Madrid visit surprise package Granada on Saturday, while Eibar host Alaves in a Basque derby on Sunday.