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From The Slums Of Ajegunle To Manchester United, The Grass To Grace Story Of Odion Ighalo.

Odion Ighalo is a 31 year old Nigerian striker who is really worthy if you're talking about a grace to grace story.


Odion Jude Ighalo, his full name, was born in Lagos and raised in Edo state, he played for Nigerian clubs; Prime FC and Julius Berger FC before he was discovered by a FIFA agent where his rise to prominence started.

Ighalo made 15 appearances in the Nigeria local leagues and scored 5 goals in those appearances before making the switch abroad.


In 2007, a FIFA agent; Marcelo Houseman recommended him to Atta Aneke and he was then taken to Norway on trial to Lyn where he subsequently made his professional debut abroad.


At the age of 18, he made his debut in Turkey on 16 September 2007 and scored on that debut. He went on to score 6 goals in 13 matches in his second year at the club helping the team to 7th position.


This return arose interest from teams in other countries and on July 30 2008, Ighalo signed for Italian team Udinese in a 5 year contract.


His debut season in Serie A however was not a fruitful as he rarely starts and comes off the bench more often. He scored his only goal for Udinese in a 6-2 thrashing of Granada. Out of his 5 league appearances for the club, 4 were off the bench.


After that unfruitful spell at Udinese, Ighalo was loaned to Spanish team Granada in the summer of 2009.


His spell in Spain was a very fruitful one however; with a return of 16 goals in 26 league appearances for the Spanish team.


After the spell at Granada, Ighalo was loaned out again by Udinese to an English team this time in Watford.


Ighalo was subsequently signed fully by Watford on 24 October 2014 after his contract was terminated by Udinese.

Ighalo had 8 appearances on loan for Watford with a return of 3 goals and made a whooping 82 appearances when he was signed permanently, with a staggering return of 33 goals.


On 31 January 2017, Ighalo made the switch to China in a £20 million switch to Changchun Yatai where he scored 36 goals this time in just 55 appearances.


He then moved to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua on 14 February 2019 before joining his childhood team, Manchester United in January 2020 on loan becoming the first Nigerian to play for the team.

During these club spells, Ighalo was also making wave for the Nigerian National team and his most notable of those was his performance in the 2019 Africa Cup Of Nations, where he was the tournament's highest goal scorer and he helped Nigeria to third position.

Truly hardwork pays, when Ighalo started out at Julius Berger, he never expected he would get the chance to play for his favourite team; Manchester United but through consistency and hardwork, his dream came to pass.

Do you believe there is nothing one can't achieve if you work hard at it and believe? Drop your opinions in the comments section below.


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Atta Aneke Jude Ighalo Marcelo Houseman Nigeria Odion Ighalo

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