Ex-Manchester United striker Ighalo picks Changchun Yatai move as career highlight

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The former Super Eagles striker has enjoyed an illustrious career before he moved to the Middle East earlier this year

Former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has chosen his spell in China with Changchun Yatai as the high point of his career. 

The deal from Watford to the Asian country was a big-money move which cost around £20 million, at the time the biggest for either club.

During his two-and-a-half-year stint in China, the 32-year-old scored 46 goals in 72 appearances in the Chinese Super League and he also won the Chinese FA Cup in 2019.

“Well, I will say when I signed my deal with China. It was a good contract. And I was pleased with it,” Ighalo told This Day Style when asked what the high point of his career was.

“I was bought from Watford to Changchun Yatai for £20 million and it was a huge transfer and the biggest transfer in the history of both clubs. 

“I went there and played for two years. I did so well with the team. I played about 50 or 52 games with 36 goals. 

“It was one of the best moments in my career life. I would also say the day I got signed to Manchester United.  Nothing compares to that feeling.” 

Following the expiry of his loan deal at Old Trafford, Ighalo moved to Saudi Arabia top-flight club Al Shabab in February. 


Before the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, the former Watford attacker had made his mark with nine goals to his name in 13 league matches. 

He continued: “It’s going well. I just finished my first six months with them, and I did well (thirteen games with nine goals and four assists). Not a bad one for a start, even though I know, I could have done better. 

“I am looking forward to starting a new season with them, and hopefully, I can score more goals.” 

Back in July 2019, the 32-year-old called time on his international career after the Super Eagles clinched bronze in the last edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. 

Ighalo explained the reasons behind his decision. 

“It was a bit tough. I got injured. I was playing throughout the tournament with pains and an injury,” he added. 

“My club in China wasn’t too happy. Also, there was the issue of the distance from China to Nigeria.

“Besides, I am not getting any younger, so I decided to allow the younger ones to continue from where I stopped. I am still in contact with everyone in the National team, and they are all doing very well.”

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