Odion Jude Ighalo is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker for the English club Watford and the Nigeria national team. He came through the academy of Spanish La Liga club Granada CF, where he was called up for their first-team squad in November 2009. He is a known name in the Nigerian football terrain.
Ighalo’s story is a classic story of Ajugunle to the world. His football journey was never an easy one. Odion Jude Ighalo was once so desperate to make it as a footballer that he slept at the training ground of his local club, Prime FC.
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Odion Ighalo Personal Life & Biography
Ighalo is a household name in the Nigerian football scene. Emmanuel Ighalo was born on the 16th of June 1989, in the ghetto of Ajegunle, in the city of Lagos.
Growing up in Ajegunle, or AJ as it is fondly called must be the reason for the toughness exhibited by Ighalo. Growing up in Ajegunle means growing up with talented children.
|Name||Odion Jude Ighalo|
|Date of birth||16th June 1989|
|Place of birth||Ajegunle, Lagos state|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
His two siblings are Daniel Ighalo, his younger brother, and Mary Atole, his older sister. He was raised by his father, Paul Ighalo, who was unemployed when Ighalo was a little child. His mother was a petty trader who sold groceries and soft beverages to the general public.
Ighalo grew up in a home that struggled with financial difficulties. His mother was forced to peddle sachet water on the streets of Lagos from time to time to provide for Ighalo and his brothers and sisters. When his parents learned of his passion for football, his father, like a typical Nigerian man, expressly forbade him from pursuing football as a career. However, he was encouraged to follow his dream with the support of his mother.
Ighalo’s mother provided him with financial assistance to purchase football footwear and transport him to games. Ighalo disobeyed his father and continued to play football against his father’s disapproval.
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To avoid being struck by stray bullets from the gunfire exchange between police and drug peddlers, which was a common occurrence in AJ, Ighalo and his teammates had to hide sometimes while playing football. This was one of the primary reasons his father disapproved of his desire to participate in football.
As expected, Ighalo dropped out of school to concentrate on football. He became famous in his neighborhood, playing in the famous Macarena. The Macarena, though a small football ground in Ajegunle, is the ground from which famous Nigerian footballers like Kanu “Papilo” Nwankwo and others developed into fine players.
Just like love stories with a tragic beginning, Ighalo’s turning point showed up. The turning moment in Ighalo’s career occurred when Marcelo Houseman, a FIFA agent of Argentine ancestry, saw his potential and brought him to Norway, where he was put on trial.
Before securing a move to Turkey, Ighalo played for several local teams. He played for Prime FC and Julius-Berger FC, among others. It was when he was playing for one of these teams that Marcelo Houseman took note of him and introduced him to Atta Aneke, who eventually brought him to Norway, where he played for Lyn.
Ighalo Cars, House, Net Worth
Odion Ighalo’s net worth is presently believed to be $16 billion. Making him Nigeria’s second-richest footballer from 2014 to 2017. He receives a weekly pay of 45,000 pounds per week (₦21,994,091) while working for Watford.
According to some reports, Ighalo will be paid £8,000 for each goal he scored for Manchester United, £9,000 for each game he plays in, and £3,000 for draws. His weekly pay is reported to be £200,000.
Odion Ighalo finished his Lekki mansion in December 2018. The multi-million Naira mansion has a fitness facility, a viewing room, a gaming area, and a football field.
Splurging on expensive automobiles should not be an issue for someone with a net worth of about ₦9 billion. Ighalo has not been seen with many cars, although he possesses a White Range Rover Velar worth ₦50 million and a Mercedes Benz G-wagon.
Judging by his move to China and Saudi Arabia Ighalo’s primary source of wealth is the round leather game and endorsement deals. The footballer may have other sources of wealth; however, they are not known to the public.
Odion Ighalo’s success may be due to his hard work and devotion to reaching his goals. Over the years, the player has won many club and individual honors. His club finished second in the English Championship in 2014-15, earning promotion to the English top-flight football competition, the Premier League.
In 2019, he helped Shanghai Shenhua win the Chinese FA Cup. In the same year, his goals helped Nigeria’s Super Eagles finish third in the African Cup of Nations. He scored five goals, which put him ahead of Riyad Mahrez and earned him the Golden Boot.
Undoubtedly, Odion Jude Ighalo is the definition of a “senior player,” as his awards suggest. Ighalo has the following awards to show for his incredible career so far.
|Watford||Football league championship: Runner-up||2014-15|
|Shanghai Shenhua||Chinese FA Cup||2019|
|Nigeria Super Eagles||AFCON: 3rd place||2019|
Ighalo began his professional career with Nigerian clubs Prime and Julius Berger before his transfer to Europe. He has played for the following clubs on loan and permanent deals.
- Prime 
- Julius Berger 
- Lyn [2007 – 2008]
- Udinese [2008 – 2009]
- Granada [2009 – 2010]
- Cesena [2010 – 2011]
- Granada [2010 – 2014]
- Watford [2014 – 2017]
- Changchun Yatai [2017 – 2018]
- Shanghai Shenhua [2019 – 2020]
- Manchester United [2020 – 2021]
- Al Shabab [2021- 2022]
- Al Hilal [2022 till date].
|English Premier league||Player of the month||Year|
|African Cup Of Nations||Team of the tournament||2019|
|African Cup Of Nations||Golden boot||2019|
|Saudi Arabian League||Second highest goal scorer||2020/2021|
He made his Tippeligaen debut on September 16, 2007, when he was only 18 years old, scoring a goal in a 2–0 home victory against Viking. In his second season, he scored six goals in 13 games to help his side finish seventh in the league. He subsequently drew attention from other teams in the nation, prompting Brann to file a complaint with the Norwegian Football Federation against Lyn for injustice in the negotiating process.
Ighalo signed a five-year deal with Udinese on July 30, 2008. In his first season in Serie A, he scored one goal against Cagliari in a 6–2 home defeat. As a late substitute, he made an appearance in four of his five league outings.
Udinese loaned Ighalo to Granada in 2009 as part of a collaborative arrangement between the Italians and the Spanish club. In his first season with Granada, He scored 17 goals and five in his second season, with both seasons resulting in a promotion. On August 27, 2011, he made his La Liga debut, starting and playing the whole 90 minutes in a 0–1 defeat at the hands of Real Betis.
Ighalo made his debut for Watford on 12 August, away at Stevenage, in the first round of the League Cup. On 30 September, against Brentford, he scored his first goal in the Championship, tucking the ball home after his initial penalty was saved by David Button, in a 2–1 home victory.
On the same day that Udinese released Ighalo, Watford signed him on a permanent deal, ending his loan days!
This outstanding Nigeria forward increased his league tally to 14 on 10 February 2015, when he scored a brace to help his team come from behind to win 2–1 at Brentford – his second goal came through an injury-time header. He scored four second-half goals and was named Man of the Match in a 7–2 home defeat of Blackpool, who had led 0–2 at half-time.
Ighalo scored on his Premier League debut on 8 August 2015, coming in for José Manuel Jurado with 16 minutes left to play. He scored to make the score 2-1. However, Everton equalized, ending as a 2–2 draw.
A brace in a 3–0 victory against Liverpool on December 20 gave Ighalo his fourth successive goal in a Watford triumph. His five goals in December earned him the Premier League Player of the Month, while his manager, Quique Sánchez Flores, received the manager of the month honor.
It was not all roses for Ighalo on English soil. Like most elite strikers before and after him, Ighalo experienced a goal drought. Ighalo went on a goal drought for 599 minutes; he ended his goal drought on 13 March 2016. The goal came in a 2-1 victory against FA cup title holders Arsenal in the FA Cup semi Final.
Ighalo signed a new 5-year contract with Watford on the 12th of August. However, he managed just one goal afterward. In the following 15 appearances, he failed to hit the back of the net.
On January 31, 2017, Ighalo signed a contract with Chinese Super League team Changchun Yatai for an undisclosed sum. In his second season with the club, he scored 21 goals, finishing second in the scoring chart, Though his side was relegated.
On February 14, 2019, Ighalo was signed by Shanghai Shenhua. According to him, he had rejected a transfer to Barcelona to sign for the club. In March, he was offered a deal of more than £400,000 per week, which he couldn’t resist.
Ighalo returned to the Premier League on loan on January 31 deadline day for transfer in 2020. Ighalo’s loan deal at Manchester United was to last till the end of the campaign.
Signing for United means Ighalo became the club’s first Nigerian player and the eighth African player to sign. Following the transfer announcement, Ighalo said that he had accepted a salary cut to make a move possible. An overly excited Ighalo described the move as a “dream” to finally join the club he has always admired.
Ighalo donned the number 25 jersey, which Quinton Fortune of South Africa had previously worn, United’s first and longest-serving African player. Ighalo’s Manchester united debut was delayed as a precautionary measure because of persistent concerns about the COVID-19 epidemic in China.
Odion Ighalo made his complete United debut on February 27 against Club Brugge in the second leg of the Europa League round of 32. He had previously appeared as a substitute in the previous three games. He scored his first United goal, which happened to be his first goal in a European tournament, as they came out with 5–0 winners.
In the FA Cup the following week, he scored his first brace for the club as United defeated Derby County 3–0 at Old Trafford. In United’s penultimate game before the suspension of football due to the COVID-19 epidemic, Ighalo scored a half-volley after juggling the ball in a 5–0 triumph against LASK. The goal was selected as the team’s goal of the month for March by United fans.
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, football has been banned, and Ighalo’s loan agreement was scheduled to expire at the end of May. As a result, United stated that they have agreed to extend Ighalo’s loan agreement until the end of January 2021.
Ighalo wrote a goodbye message on social media on January 26, 2021, in anticipation of his impending exit from Manchester United at the end of the month. The next day, United announced Ighalo’s departure from the club.
Ighalo signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi Professional League team Al Shabab on February 4, 2021. Ighalo left Al Shabab in January 2022 and joined Al Hilal. He scored in his first two appearances for the club; thus, becoming the first Nigerian to score in the Club World Cup tournament.
Odion Ighalo Deals & Partnership
Odion Ighalo receives income from various deals he has signed with top brands in addition to his salaries. This places him on the Sunday Times’ list of the wealthiest Nigerian players. He has a Nike sponsorship contract that permits him to play football in the Nike Mercurial Superfly VII Elite footwear.
Globacom, a giant Nigerian telecom company, unveiled Odion Ighalo as its ambassador late in 2020 to further cement its position as one of the leading service providers. As part of the agreement, Ighalo will appear in a television ad that compares life to playing football. The advertising is presently airing, and it is projected to add several million dollars to his endorsement profits.
Ighalo also has an agreement with Multichoice Nigeria that demands him to be a special guest at important DSTV events and appear in a TV commercial.
Ighalo Lifestyle, Life Outside Football, and Controversies
Not much is known about Ighalo’s lifestyle. However, the forward is a known philanthropist. He established an orphanage home in 2017 with about £1 million. The orphanage is situated in Ijagun, a poor district of Lagos.
Ighalo’s life outside football is relatively unknown. However, he is known for his philanthropic gestures. Ighalo spent over N500 million in December 2017 to build an orphanage home in Ijegun, Ajegunle, where he was reared as a youngster.
Ighalo is a proud husband and father. He got married to Adesuwa Sonia in 2009. The couple has three children together; two boys and a girl. Despite his hectic schedule, Ighalo makes time for his family. However, the love story between Ighalo and Sonia had taken an unpleasant turn.
Ighalo and Sonia Adesuwa, though still legally married, have not been together since last year. This leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the footballer’s die-hard fans. It is alleged that the reason for their marital challenges is Odion’s infidelity.
His narrative of rising from obscurity to prominence is an inspiration to many Nigerians, as he continues his philanthropic deeds both at home and abroad.
As compared to most celebrities, Ighalo is far less controversial. Nevertheless, the striker has been involved and is still in the mix of controversy. Ighalo’s issues with his wife continue.
It is alleged that Ighalo cheated on his wife, Sonia. Ighalo welcomed a child in 2021 from another woman. Following the news, Sonia was quick to react. She wrote
“Congrats Ighalo on the arrival of your baby (Feb). I just dey receive a court email. We don many ah father Abraham….” Her reaction was a suggestion of the striker’s infidelity.
Notably, Ighalo fell out with his former Al Shabab over their refusal to release him for the 2022 African Cup of Nations Tournament in Cameron. Following his addition to Nigeria’s Nations Cup squad, the Saudi club opted against releasing the striker.
The action by the club prompted the player to skip training sessions and force a move away. Eventually, Ighalo left the club for their rivals Al Hilal. Ighalo made sure they paid for their actions by netting twice when Al-Hilal played Al Shabab. Perfect revenge!
How Much Did Odion Ighalo Earn At Manchester United?
While at United, Ighalo earned £180,000 a week, according to The Sun. To secure his loan transfer to Old Trafford, the former Watford striker stated that he had taken a wage reduction during his time at Watford. His weekly salary was believed to be £300,000 in China.
Is Odion Ighalo still at Manchester United?
Ighalo admitted that he was overly thrilled to represent Manchester United. However, his lack of game time constituted why he decided to leave Manchester United at the end of his loan. His six-month loan from the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua ended in January 2021.
Is Odion Ighalo Still Playing For Nigeria?
After Nigeria’s Super Eagles finished third in the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt, Ighalo announced his retirement from the national team. However, he made a return to the Super Eagles in 2021. Sadly, he was not released by his club Al Shabab to represent his country in the 2022 African cup of nations.
Is Odion Ighalo Good?
Indeed, Odion Jude Ighalo is good both footballing-wise and human. As a human, his philanthropic gestures prove it. As a footballer, Ighalo has showcased numerous times that he is an elite striker. In the Premier League, the form of Ighalo is more than a blip in time. It was his stellar play that secured promotion for Watford. In Saudi Arabia, he has shown people that he is indeed an elite striker.
Is Odion Ighalo A Twin?
This is one interesting detail about Odion Ighalo that many football fans are unaware of. Yes, Ighalo has a twin sister! Odion’s twin sister’s name is Akhere Modela Ighalo-Emmanuel. Sadly, she died on the 12th of December 2019 in Canada.