NEW CHAPTER! Odion Ighalo, Destiny Child On Assignment As He Moves To Asian Champions, Al-Hilal FC

Odion Jude Ighalo, a Super Eagles striker, has joined Al-Hilal Football Club in Saudi Arabia after leaving Al Shabaab.
His old club, Al Shabaab, had denied him a place in Nigeria’s squad for the present Africa Cup of Nations AFCON in Cameroon, where they were ousted in the Round of 16.
The deal is for one and a half years, and the former Manchester United striker left Al Shabaab on Saturday after a two-year contract.
Ighalo, 32, joined Al Shabaab from Manchester United in January 2021.
On Saturday, the Al Hilal deal was announced in a tweet from the club’s verified Twitter account.
The Blue Waves have signed the 32-year-old for an undisclosed fee. He also reportedly signed a one-and-a-half year deal with the Saudi Professional League club.
“Welcome the ‘Eagle,’ Odion Ighalo,” read the tweet, which was accompanied by a graphic image of the Nigerian dressed in the colors of his club.
According to TheCable, Ighalo, who is currently the Saudi league’s leading goal scorer with 12 goals, will leave Al Shabaab after joining the club in February 2021.
He had joined the Saudi champions on loan from Manchester United.
Ighalo was unveiled on Saturday
Ighalo also reversed his nearly three-year international retirement in 2021.
Despite retiring from the Super Eagles in 2019, former head coach Gernot Rohr enticed the Lagos-born striker back to the team.
In the Eagles’ final World Cup qualification match against Cape Verde in November 2021, he came on as a second-half substitute.
Despite being named to the squad, Ighalo was unable to join the team for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
This was because of a contentious clause in his contract with Al-Shabab.
With 31 points from 17 matches, Al Hilal are currently fourth in the 16-club 2021/2022 Saudi Arabia League.
Ighalo breaks a Nigerian’s transfer record
On Saturday, Odion Ighalo was unveiled by Al Hilal after completing his transfer from Saudi Pro League rivals Al-Shabab.
The Super Eagles striker wore the number 9 kit during his unveiling ceremony, and we can confirm that it is the same number he will wear at Al-Hilal for the rest of the 2021-2022 season.
In his first season in Europe, Ighalo wore the number 20 shirt for Lyn Oslo, the numbers 9 and 89 for Udinese in Italy, and the number 24 for Watford.
The 32-year-old wore the numbers 7, 16, and 25 for Granada in Spain, the number 25 for Manchester United, and the numbers 89 and 9 for Al-Shabab.
Following his move to Al Hilal, Ighalo broke a Nigerian transfer record by becoming the most expensive player over the age of thirty acquired by a club, if only permanent transfers are considered.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer joined Al Hilal for 5.9 million euros (approximately N2.7 billion), breaking the previous record held by former Chelsea wing-back Victor Moses, who moved to Spartak Moscow for a fee of five million euros last summer.
Before Kelechi Iheanacho’s move to Leicester City for €27.7 million, Ighalo’s transfer to Changchun Yatai for €23.3 million was the most expensive involving a Nigerian player.
Ighalo about his transfer
Top scorer at the last African Cup of Nations in 2019, Ighalo returned from international retirement last year and was named in the Nigeria squad for this year’s ongoing tournament in Cameroon, but Al Shabab refused to release him.
“I had a great time with Al Shabab and I thank the club management and fans for the love and support,” Ighalo, who is a replacement for departed French striker Bafetimbi Gomis, told BBC Sport Africa.
“It’s a big honour to get a chance to play for the country’s most successful club in Al Hilal.
“To play in the Asian Champions League against some of the continent’s finest teams is also a huge attraction and I really can’t wait.”
With 17 league titles, Al Hilal are Saudi Arabia’s most successful club. They are also the current domestic champions and the Asian Champions League champions.
Ighalo, who has played in Norway, Italy, Spain, England, and China, is eager to add to the club’s trophy cabinet.
“The ambition remains the same, which is to help the club to success in every competition we compete in,” he added.

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