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Odion Ighalo - The Nigerian star number 9

| 10.09.2020
Odion Ighalo - The Nigerian star number 9

Odion Jude Ighalo is a Nigerian footballer who presently plays for Manchester United (on loan) as a forward English Premier League.

Odion Ighalo

Ighalo is from Edo state, located in Nigeria, and was born in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria. He has dual citizenship being a Nigerian citizen by birth and an Italian citizen by naturalization.
The 31-year-old Ighalo was born on the 16th of June 1989, and he is 6 feet 2 inches and weighs around 73kg as of July 2020.

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Life story

Jude was raised in Lagos. Ighalo faced stiff resistance from his father to play football, so at times, he would have to be punished for disobeying his father to continue playing soccer. One good thing, though, that assured that Ighalo would grow to be the football star he is today is the support he received from his mother. Ighalo's mother supported him both emotionally and financially by buying him soccer boots and, at the time giving him money for transportation to go for football training.

Ighalo Football Career

Humble beginnings

He started his youth career at Prime F.C known formerly as Osun United F.C where he played for five years (2000-2005) before being picked up by Julius Berger F.C (now Bridge F.C) where former Nigerian legends players such as Yakubu, Taribo West, Sunday Oliseh, Samson Siasia and many more had played. He scored five goals in 10 appearances for Julius Berger F.C.

Odion Ighalo

He made his big break in Europe after signing a deal with Norwegian club, Lyn 1896 Fotballklubb staying for one season before being bought over by Seria A side Udinese but back in 2008, they where still in the Serie B. His time at Udinese was filled with troubles as he found it hard to break into the first team and had to be loaned out to Granada twice for the 2019-2010 season and the 2011-2014 season and also to Cesena in the 2010-2011 season.

A star is born at Watford

Ighalo made his debut for Watford (coming from a loan from Udinese) on the 29th of July 2014 and scored his first goal for the EPL side against Brentford. The Watford side believed so much in Ighalo's capabilities that he was signed permanently immediately. His Udinese contract ran out. His time at Watford saw him develop into a force to be reckoned with in the premier league, going on to score 33 critical goals for Watford in 82 appearances for the hornets between 2014 to 2017.

The Chinese come calling

He was finally released for 20 million euros. He went on to ply his trade at Changchun Yatai in China, making 55 appearances and netting in 36 goals. He then moved to Chinese football superpowers Shanghai Greenland Shenhua On the 14th of February 2019, where he earned a mouth-watering 400,000 euro monthly salary (178 million naira).

Surprise Manchester United transfer

One of the shockers of the 2019/2018 season would have to be Odion Ighalo's move to Old Trafford. It had been reported that Manchester United was in talks with Odion Ighalo during the 2019 Christmas break. Finally, they were able to secure Ighalo’s services during the January transfer window on the 31st of January 2020. He opted to wear the number 25 shirt, previously worn by Manchester United's first and longest-serving African player, Quinton Fortune of South Africa. He was reported to have taken a Salary cut to make the deal go through.
Ighalo's loan was set to expire at the end of May 2020; on 1 June, Manchester United announced that they had agreed to extend Ighalo's loan deal until 30 January 2021. Presently he has scored five goals for the Red Devils in 14 games.

Nigerian football Hall of Famer

Many believe that ighalo will be ranked up there whenever people mention the modern era's Nigerian football greats. At 31 and still firing on all cylinders, he still has more to offer the Nigerian squad. Wearing the coveted number 9 for the super eagles, he has scored 16 goals in all competitions.

He won his first cap for the Nigerian team under newly appointed Nigeria interim coach Daniel Amokachi on the 24th of March 2015, and since then has been the marksman for Nigeria in the 2018 world cup, the 2019 Africa cup of nations, and several other friendlies. He was part of the squad that came in third place at the 2019 Afcon.

Style of play

Odion Ighalo plays like a traditional 9 upfront and primarily is always fielded as a center forward. He is very strong in finishing, and because of his excellent ball holding skills, he gets fouled often. He is also an Indirect set-piece threat and is quite a cautious player. He hardly commits card offense fouls or dives into tackles. His weakness is in terms of aerial duels and headed finishing.

Net worth/ market value

Presently Odion Ighalo is a billionaire worth 23 million dollars; that’s approximately 8.4 billion naira. His estimated salary at Manchester united is 200,000 euros a week; that’s about 73 million nairas. Apart from his juicy salary reports claim that Ighalo stands to make 8,000 euros with every goal, 9,000 euros every game he is involved, and 3,000 euros with each draw. The sources also revealed that he would make bonus money if Manchester United managed to qualify for next year's Champions League. According to transfermkrt.com, at 31, Ighalo’s market value is 5.20 million euros, while his highest ever value is 12 million euros in August 2016 while still playing for Watford.

Endorsements

Ighalo is managed by the Emefie Aneke Atta agency in Norway, who also manage other Nigerian stars, including Chidera ekuje playing for SC Heerenveen and Suleiman Abdullahi at 1.FC Union Berlin in Germany.
His several endorsement deals include being a Multichoice Africa ambassador and his deal with Nike to wear the Nike Mercurial Superfly VII Elite this season.

Lifestyle

Ighalo’s Instagram handle is @ighalojude; he Is verified with almost a million followers. Ighalo is a philanthropist and regularly donates to the care and funding of projects to help those in need, including widows and disadvantaged children. He also started the ighalo foundation, which built the Ighalo Orphanage home.
Lovelife

Ighalo got married in 2019 to Sonia Ighalo, and they have three beautiful kids together.

Taste in cars and house

Odion Ighalo Cars

Ighalo completed his primary residence in Nigeria in 2018 and officially moved in during Christmas of the same year. His house, which lives in the Upper end of Lekki, Nigeria, is fitted with the latest high tech additions.

His home features a large swimming pool, a state of the art gym, and a football pitch for training. His beautiful mansion is estimated to be worth in the hundreds of millions.
With the kind of money, he makes it's expected that ighalo would have a few beasts in his garage. Ighalo is reported to own a range rover sport( about 90 million nairas) and a Mercedes 2019 g-wagon worth 140,000$ or more (about 60 million nairas) amongst other cars in his garage.

Facts you probably didn’t know about Odion Ighalo

• Odion is a devout Christian
• He is the 8th highest goal scorer for Nigeria with 16 goals
• He is the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United
• He is a childhood Manchester United fan
Awards and achievement
• Africa Cup of Nations, bronze medal (2019)
• Africa Cup of Nations Golden Boot (2019)
• Chinese FA Cup(2019)
• Football League Championship runner-up (2014–15)
• Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament (2019)
• Premier League Player of the Month(December 2015)

Where is he now

Ighalo presently plays stunning football for the red devils, Manchester United. He is expected to be there for at least one more season if His loan deal is extended. When he is not playing soccer, he is back home here in Nigeria, living large and spending time with family. We expect to see more great things from Ighalo as he steps into the twilight years of his career.

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