Odion Jude ighalo was born on 16 June 1989 in Lagos State of Nigeria and was raise in Edo State. The Nigerian footballer is currently playing for Manchester United on loan in the English Premier League.
He was a prominent footballer who play a key role for his country before he retires from the Nigeria football team in 2019.
As a child:
Ighalo lives in Ajegunle, a ghetto area in Lagos State Nigeria. he grew up in a family with financial constraints. His mother sometimes hawk in the streets of Lagos to feed the family. As a young talented star, his father was not pleased with him playing football but his mother took up and encouraged him to move forward in his career. Odion Ighalo dropped out of school and focus on playing football in a local football pitch in Ajegunle a place called Macerena. many prominent Nigeria footballers had played there.
Igahlo played for many Nigerian local clubs like: Prime FC, Julius-Berger FC during his youth career.
After so much hard work at Ajegunle. A FIFA agent of Argentine saw his talent and took him to Norway and he was placed on trial to play for Lyn.
A year later, he was signed by Italian club Udinese spending most of his tenure on two separate loan spells with Spanish club Granada. In 2014, he signed for Championship club Watford and was integral in the club’s promotion to the Premier League in the 2014–15 season. In January 2017, Ighalo joined Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai for a reported £20 million, before moving onto Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. In January 2020, Ighalo returned to the Premier League, joining Manchester United on loan until the end of the 2019–20 season.
Ighalo made his debut for the Nigeria national team in 2015. He represented the nation at the 2018 World Cup and was the highest goalscorer in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign. He eventually led Nigeria to a third place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where he finished in the competition’s Team of the Tournament and was crowned top scorer.
In September 2007, at the age of 18. In his debut game in the Tippeligaen, he went on to score and helped his team win the match against Viking. He took the role of rose Lyn’s position in the Tippeligaen to 7th in 2008 season, His performance attracted interests from other Tippeligaen clubs and there were negotiations between SK Brann and Lyn over Ighalo which went south with the former reporting Lyn to the Norwegian Football Federation.
Udinese and Lyn sealed a deal which saw Ighalo move to the Serie in July 2008. He signed a five years contract with the club. and had a good performance for the club in the Serie A.
Granada (2009–2010 on loan)
Ighalo was sent on loan to Granada. during his first season with the Spanish club, Ighalo was one of the tools to the club’s advancement. He scored 17 goals and helped his side earn a promotion to a senior league. In his second season with Granada, Ighalo scored 5 goals and earned promotion for Granada.
Casena (2010–2011 on loan)
At this time, Ighalo was on loan to Cesena where he played for some times.
Granada (2011–2014 on loan)
Ighalo’s returned back to Granada to continued playing for the team after playing for just one season with Casena. He helped his side earn promotion to the La Liga and debuted in the top tier league in August 2011.
Watford (2014 on loan)
In July 2014, Udinese agreed to send Ighalo to EPL club, Watford on loan. In August 2014, he debuted for Watford in the Carabao Cup. He scored his first goal for Watford in the Carabao Cup in September 2014.
Udinese released Ighalo from his contract and Watford terminated their loan deal with Ighalo and offered him another deal which will seal him as a permanent Watford player in October 2014. In August 2015, he scored his first Premier League goal in his first EPL game. In December 2015, after he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Liverpool, he was given the EPL Player of the Month award. In March 2016, he scored a crucial goal to defeat Arsenal and help Watford advance to the semifinal of the FA Cup, for the first time in 9 years. He agreed to a five years deal with Watford for the following season. Ighalo did not live up to expectation and struggled to find the back of the net during the 2017 season.
Changchun Yatai (2017–2019)
Ighalo moved to the Chinese Super League (CSL). He joined Changchun Yatai for £20 million. He ranked as the second top scorer in the CSL in his debut season, but the Changchun Yatai suffered relegation.
Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (2019–date)
Ighalo said he refused an offer to play for Barcelona and moved to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in February 2019. His top performance in the 2019 season received a bit of media attention.
Manchester United (2020–date on loan)
Ighalo moved to United on loan to help bolster a struggling United attacking side.
Odion Ighalo International Career
In March 2015, Ighalo was called for the first time to play for the Nigerian senior football team. He was invited to play in the 2016 Olympics but did not play in the tournament. He played in the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia. In what was perceived to be a poor performance by him, he was heavily criticised and death threats were issued to his family, as revealed by Ighalo. He scored the most goals for any player in the qualifications for the 2019 AFCON. In the tournament, he was a prominent player who helped Nigeria emerge third. His team also made Team of the Tournament in the 2019 African Cup of Nations. After his exploits in the AFCON, he announced that he’ll retire from international football.
Odion Ighalo’ Families
Ighalo is married to Sonia Ighalo. The couple who got married since 2009 now has three children.
In December 2019, Ighalo’s sister, Mary Atole, died. Ighalo honoured his late sister by inscribing her name in his boots.
Odion Ighalo is currently one of the richest and most influential football players in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $ 30 million. In 2017, Ighalo established an orphanage home which was built with as much as £1 million. The orphanage is located in Ijagun, a suburban town in Lagos, marred by poverty.