The Norway international is now living up to his potential on-loan with Real Sociedad this season.
Kent Karlsen represented Odegaard when he was 15 years of age and revealed to Cadena SER: "Barça invited us and we visited La Masía and all the facilities. We were talking with (then sports director Andoni) Zubizarreta and he also invited us to watch a game at the Camp Nou: it was a Barça-Ajax , a very special night.
"Barça is a great club, but Martin and his father valued many things in making their decision. In the end they visited other clubs and chose another one.
"The FIFA sanction played against Barça (for the signing of underage players) in Martin's signing. Accepting the proposal meant that the player had to stay one more year in Norway, because Barça could not incorporate players in 2015. And they didn't see this clearly."
On Real's offer, Karlsen added: "It was a complete package. Madrid designed a plan for him and presented him with a great project. (Zinedine) Zidane was also very involved and the boy and his father were carried away by good feelings."