Odion Ighalo

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Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo (cropped).jpg
Ighalo playing for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup
Personal information
Full name Odion Jude Ighalo[1][2]
Date of birth (1989-06-16) 16 June 1989 (age 29)
Place of birth Lagos, Nigeria
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[3]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Shanghai Shenhua
Number 9
Youth career
2000–2005 Prime
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2006 Prime 5 (0)
2006–2007 Julius Berger 10 (5)
2007–2008 Lyn 20 (9)
2008–2014 Udinese 6 (1)
2009–2010Granada (loan) 26 (16)
2010–2011Cesena (loan) 3 (0)
2011–2014Granada (loan) 95 (17)
2014Watford (loan) 8 (3)
2014–2017 Watford 82 (33)
2017–2018 Changchun Yatai 55 (36)
2019– Shanghai Shenhua 3 (2)
National team
2009 Nigeria U20 3 (0)
2015– Nigeria 26 (11)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 31 March 2019
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:44, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

Odion Jude Ighalo (born 16 June 1989) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker[4] for Chinese club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua and the Nigerian national team.

After starting his career at Prime and Julius Berger, he moved to Norway's Lyn in 2007. A year later he was signed by Udinese, spending most of his tenure loaned out, notably at Granada, before signing for Watford in 2014. He also competed professionally in China, with Changchun Yatai and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

Ighalo made his debut for Nigeria in 2015. He represented the nation at the 2018 World Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early years / Lyn[edit]

Born in Lagos and raised in Edo,[5] Ighalo played in his country with Prime and Julius Berger, where he was discovered by FIFA agent Marcelo Houseman who recommended him to Atta Aneke, being subsequently taken on trial by Norway's Lyn.

He made his Tippeligaen debut on 16 September 2007 at the age of just 18, scoring in a 2–0 home win against Viking. He scored six goals in 13 matches in his second year to help his team to the seventh position, and subsequently arose interest from other clubs in the country, with Brann reporting Lyn to the Football Association of Norway for unfairness in the negotiation process.[6]

Udinese / Granada[edit]

On 30 July 2008, Ighalo signed for Udinese in Italy, moving alongside teammate Jo Inge Berget and agreeing to a five-year contract.[7] He appeared rarely in Serie A in his debut season, scoring against Cagliari in a 6–2 home routing –[8] four of his five league appearances came as a late substitute.

Ighalo was loaned to Granada in summer 2009, as part of the partnership agreement between Udinese and the Spaniards.[9][10][11] He scored 17 times in his first year (playoffs included)[12] and five in the second, as both seasons ended in promotion;[13][14] this was interspersed with a brief loan stint back in Italy, with Cesena.[15]

Ighalo continued playing with Granada in the following years, still owned by the Udine side.[16][17] He played his first La Liga match on 27 August 2011, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a 0–1 home loss to Real Betis.[18]

Watford[edit]

Ighalo joined Watford on a season-long loan deal from Udinese, on 29 July 2014.[19] He made his debut for the English club in the first round of the Football League Cup at Stevenage on 12 August,[20] and scored his first goal in the Championship against Brentford on 30 September by tucking the ball home after his initial penalty was saved by David Button, in a 2–1 home win.[21][22]

On 24 October 2014, Watford terminated Ighalo's loan and re-signed him on a permanent deal the same day after Udinese released him from his contract.[23] Exactly three months later, he scored four second-half goals and was voted Man of the match in a 7–2 home routing of Blackpool, who led 0–2 at half time;[24] he took his league tally to 14 on 10 February 2015, after netting a brace to help his team come from behind at Brentford to win it 2–1 – his second came through an injury time header.[25]

Ighalo scored in his Premier League debut on 8 August 2015, replacing José Manuel Jurado 16 minutes from time and putting the visitors ahead 2–1 in an eventual 2–2 draw away against Everton for the season opener.[26] He netted twice in a 2–0 home win over West Ham United on 31 October, reaching seven goals for the season and becoming the highest club scorer in the competition after just 11 matches.[27]

On 20 December 2015, Ighalo scored in a Watford victory for the fourth consecutive time, netting a brace in a 3–0 win over Liverpool.[28] His five-goal haul earned him December's Premier League Player of the Month, while his manager Quique Sánchez Flores won the equivalent award.[29]

Ighalo broke a 599-minute personal scoring drought on 13 March 2016, with a goal in a 2–1 win at holders Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, putting the Hornets into the last four for the first time in nine years.[30] On 12 August he signed a new five-year contract[31] but, the following season, he scored just one league goal and did not find the net in any of his last 15 games.[32]

Changchun Yatai[edit]

On 31 January 2017, Ighalo joined Chinese Super League club Changchun Yatai for a reported £20 million.[32] He ranked second in the scoring charts in his second season at 21, but his team suffered relegation.[33][34]

Shanghai Shenhua[edit]

Ighalo transferred to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on 14 February 2019.[35][36] In March, he said he turned down a move to Barcelona the previous month.[37]

International career[edit]

On 24 March 2015, after a series of strong performances for Watford, newly appointed Nigeria interim coach Daniel Amokachi selected Ighalo for the first time, and the latter stated, "I feel good because it is my dream to play for my country".[38] He won his first cap two days later, starting in a 0–1 friendly home loss to Uganda.[39]

Ighalo was one of three overage players named in Nigeria's squad for the 2016 Olympic tournament in Brazil.[40] In June 2018, he was named in the 23-man squad for the upcoming edition of the FIFA World Cup in Russia,[41] making his first appearance in the competition by playing 73 minutes in the 0–2 group stage defeat against Croatia;[42] in October, he revealed that his family had received death threats after he failed to score in the tournament.[43]

Ighalo scored seven goals in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign, the most by any player, to help Nigeria qualify for the finals in Egypt later that year.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Ighalo is known to be a devout Christian,[1] who also often dedicates part of his wages for Nigerian charitable organisations to help impoverished children, schools and widows below the poverty line.[45]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 11 November 2018[46]

Club[edit]

Club Season League Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Prime 2005[47] Nigeria National League 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Julius Berger 2006[47] Nigeria Premier League 10 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 5
Lyn 2007[47] Tippeligaen 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 3
2008[47] Tippeligaen 13 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 6
Total 20 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 20 9
Udinese 2008–09[47] Serie A 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
Granada (loan) 2009–10[47] Segunda División B 26 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 16
Cesena (loan) 2010–11[46] Serie A 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Granada (loan) 2010–11[46] Segunda División 25 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 5
2011–12[46] La Liga 30 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 31 6
2012–13[46] La Liga 28 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 30 5
2013–14[46] La Liga 16 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 18 4
Total 125 33 5 3 0 0 0 0 130 36
Watford 2014–15[46] Championship 35 20 1 0 2 0 0 0 38 20
2015–16[46] Premier League 37 15 5 2 0 0 0 0 42 17
2016–17[46] Premier League 18 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 19 2
Total 90 36 6 2 3 1 0 0 99 39
Changchun Yatai 2017[46] Chinese Super League 27 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 27 15
2018[46] Chinese Super League 28 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 28 21
Total 55 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 55 36
Career total 314 120 12 5 3 1 0 0 329 126

International[edit]

As of 22 March 2019[48]
Nigeria
Year Apps Goals
2015 7 2
2016 5 1
2017 3 1
2018 10 6
2019 1 1
Total 26 11

International goals[edit]

As of 22 March 2019 (Nigeria score listed first, score column indicates score after each Ighalo goal)[48]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 13 June 2015 Ahmadu Bello, Kaduna, Nigeria 3  Chad 2–0 2–0 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
2 11 October 2015 Edmond Machtens, Brussels, Belgium 5  Cameroon 3–0 3–0 Friendly
3 31 May 2016 Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg 11  Luxembourg 3–1 3–1
4 1 September 2017 Godswill Akpabio, Uyo, Nigeria 13  Cameroon 1–0 4–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
5 8 September 2018 Stade Linité, Victoria, Seychelles 23  Seychelles 3–0 3–0 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
6 13 October 2018 Ahmadu Bello, Kaduna, Nigeria 24  Libya 1–0 4–0
7 2–0
8 3–0
9 16 October 2018 Stade Taïeb Mhiri, Sfax, Tunisia 25 1–0 3–2
10 3–2
11 22 March 2019 Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Nigeria 26  Seychelles 1–0 3–1

Honours[edit]

Individual

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Baines, Ollie (1 October 2015). "Interview: Watford striker, Jude Ighalo talks goals and God with Cross The Line". Cross The Line. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Squads for 2016/17 Premier League confirmed". Premier League. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  3. ^ "2018 FIFA World Cup: List of players" (PDF). FIFA. p. 19. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Odion Ighalo: Journey and rise to a Barclays Premier League star". Wolexis. 10 November 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Odion Ighalo: Watford striker to be honoured by Edo State". Pulse. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Lyn, Brann og Odion Ighalo" [Lyn, Brann and Odion Ighalo] (in Norwegian). FC Lyn. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.[dead link]
  7. ^ "Blir trist å forlate Lyn" [Sad to leave Lyn] (in Norwegian). FC Lyn. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Udinese-Cagliari 6–2: Quagliarella saluta nella festa del goal" [Udinese-Cagliari 6–2: Quagliarella salutes in goal party] (in Italian). Goal. 31 May 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Apuesta de futuro por el Granada CF" [Granada CF bet on future] (in Spanish). Granada CF. 10 July 2009. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2009.
  10. ^ "Pistoletazo de salida al Granada C.F. 2009/2010" [Starting gun to Granada C.F. 2009/2010] (in Spanish). Granada CF. 23 July 2009. Archived from the original on 29 July 2009. Retrieved 20 August 2009.
  11. ^ "Odion Ighalo, nuevo jugador del Granada C.F." [Odion Ighalo, new Granada C.F. player] (in Spanish). Granada CF. 22 August 2009. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  12. ^ "El Granada, a medio palmo del ascenso" [Granada, inches away from promotion]. Ideal (in Spanish). 16 May 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Granada, en Primera 35 años después" [Granada, in Primera 35 years after]. Marca (in Spanish). 18 June 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Ighalo, el goleador oportuno" [Ighalo, the timely scorer]. El País (in Spanish). 19 June 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Ufficiale: Ighalo al Cesena" [Official: Ighalo to Cesena] (in Italian). Tutto Mercato Web. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Ighalo vuelve cedido a Granada" [Ighalo returns to Granada on loan]. Marca (in Spanish). Madrid. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Ighalo jugará en el Granada su quinta campaña consecutiva cedido por Udinense [sic]" [Ighalo to play his fifth consecutive campaign with Granada loaned by Udinese]. Ideal (in Spanish). 24 August 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Rubén Castro hace justicia" [Rubén Castro does justice]. El País (in Spanish). 28 August 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Udinese striker Odion Ighalo agrees one-year loan switch to Watford". Watford Observer. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  20. ^ "Stevenage 0–1 Watford". BBC Sport. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Watford 2–1 Brentford". BBC Sport. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Odion Ighalo". Watford F.C. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Official: Ighalo signs permanent deal". Watford F.C. 24 October 2014. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Watford 7–2 Blackpool". BBC Sport. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Brentford 1–2 Blackpool". BBC Sport. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Watford hold Everton to point on return to Premier League". ESPN FC. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  27. ^ "STAT ATTACK: Watford 2 West Ham 0 – Ighalo becomes Watford's highest-ever Premier League scorer". Yahoo Sports. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  28. ^ "Watford 3 Liverpool 0: Ighalo double stuns Klopp's visitors". Yahoo Sports. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  29. ^ McVitie, Peter (15 January 2016). "Watford's Ighalo and Flores win Premier League awards". Goal. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  30. ^ Jennings, Patrick (13 March 2016). "Arsenal 1–2 Watford". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Odion Ighalo: Nigerian striker 'honoured' by new Watford deal". BBC Sport. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  32. ^ a b "Odion Ighalo: Watford striker joins Changchun Yatai". BBC Sport. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  33. ^ Abayomi, Tosin (11 November 2018). "Ighalo's club Chanchung Yatai suffers relegation in China". Pulse. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  34. ^ Okeleji, Oluwashina (21 December 2018). "Nigeria's Odion Ighalo does not plan on playing in second division". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  35. ^ "申花官方宣布中超银靴加盟 以情动人和恩师再聚首" (in Chinese). Sina. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  36. ^ Okeleji, Oluwashina (14 February 2019). "Odion Ighalo: Nigeria striker 'excited' to reunite with Quique Sanchez Flores in China". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  37. ^ Okeleji, Oluwashina (29 March 2019). "Odion Ighalo: Why I turned down Barcelona move". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Nigeria: Watford striker, Ighalo, happy to play for Super Eagles". All Africa. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  39. ^ "Uganda Cranes edge Nigeria Super Eagles in international build up". Kawowo. 26 March 2015. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  40. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Siasia picks Mikel, Ighalo, Akpeyi for Olympics; Iwobi doubtful". Complete Sports. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  41. ^ "Super Eagles drop Aina, Agu from World Cup squad". ESPN. 3 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  42. ^ Whalley, Mike (16 June 2018). "Croatia 2–0 Nigeria". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  43. ^ Okeleji, Oluwashina (20 October 2018). "Odion Ighalo: 'Threat to family not enough to make me quit'". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  44. ^ Taiwo, Taiye (25 March 2019). "EXTRA TIME: Nigeria's Odion Ighalo celebrates Afcon goalscoring feat". Goal. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  45. ^ Walters, Mike (16 October 2015). "Watford's Odion Ighalo discusses his heart of Gold and hopes of reuniting with Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  46. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "O. Ighalo". Soccerway. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  47. ^ a b c d e f "Odion Ighalo". National Football Teams. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  48. ^ a b "O. Ighalo – Matches". Soccerway. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  49. ^ "Odion Ighalo: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 29 September 2018.

External links[edit]