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Odion Ighalo

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June 16, 1989 (34)

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Odion Ighalo is a professional footballer from Nigeria who carved a niche for himself in the sport through his standout performance as a striker.

A key part of Ighalo’s early career was his time with the Nigerian football club Prime and Julius Berger, where his knack for goal-scoring became evident. However, it was his five-year stint with Udinese, an Italian Serie A club, that truly put him on the map. The striker further honed his skills during loan spells with Granada in Spain, distinguishing himself as a formidable force on the pitch. Nevertheless, his breakthrough moment came in the English Premier League when he signed with Watford in 2014. Ighalo’s contributions were instrumental in Watford’s promotion to the Premier League, and in the following season, he scored 15 goals, becoming an integral part of the team’s successful campaign.

Ighalo’s career is a veritable journey across continents, and his collaborations with numerous players and coaches have been fundamental to his development. From his early days with coach Kabiru Baleria at Prime, to playing alongside stars such as Troy Deeney at Watford, and eventually sharing the dressing room with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford at Manchester United. Additionally, playing under the tutelage of managers like Quique Sánchez Flores and Ole Gunnar Solskjær has undoubtedly shaped Ighalo’s footballing philosophy and style.

A crowning achievement came in 2015, when he was named Watford’s Player of the Season following an impressive Premier League campaign. His goal-scoring exploits also earned him recognition at the international level, when he was awarded the Golden Boot at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for being the tournament’s top goal scorer. In 2020, during his loan spell at Manchester United, he was nominated for the club’s Goal of the Month award, a testament to his consistent performance at one of the world’s most prestigious clubs.