Ighalo Reveals Why He Never Wore A Ronaldo Or Rooney Man United Shirt
Odion Ighalo

Ighalo Reveals Why He Never Wore A Ronaldo Or Rooney Man United Shirt

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

Odion Ighalo is having the time of his life as a Manchester United player but the story wasn't always rosy for the Nigerian.

Following his move from China in January, the boyhood United fan has a sensational form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, scoring four times in the eight games he has played.

Ighalo's form has prompted talks of an extension and the ex-Watford man could continue to have his name printed on a United shirt beyond the six months he signed initially.

But that wasn't the case many years ago when Ighalo was yet to get his breakthrough and was still playing street football with replica United shirts with no name or number on it.

The striker, in a chat with United magazine, revealed that he couldn't afford to pay for the names of his favourite players to be printed on his United jersey.

After Ighalo's move to United was announced, his agent, Atta Aneke, posted an old photograph of the forward wearing United's blue away 2005-06 shirt.

The jersey was worn by the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, and Cristiano Ronaldo for only one season before United switched their shirt sponsorship from Vodafone to AIG in 2006.

"I had a United jersey but no player name on the back,” Ighalo told the United magazine.

"It was one of the old blue ones but definitely no name on the back. You have to pay to put names on the back and there was no money to pay for that! I just got the United top.

"It was a blue one but a long time ago. I can’t remember [which season] as I was very, very young."

When he was younger, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were his United idols. Although the pair later left United to join Blackburn Rovers in 2001 and 2002, Ighalo has fond memories of watching the team in Nigeria.

"It’s good. You have to go to a viewing centre and pay to watch the games," Ighalo continued.

"Any time United were playing, I’d go with my siblings. You’d have to pay to watch the games and now people are watching me and United. It is a big fanbase and it is growing even bigger.

"Everybody is sending me messages saying they can’t wait to see me and watch the United games. I am very happy about that."

Ighalo became the first Nigerian to join Manchester United when a deadline day deal was struck between the record Premier League winners and his parent club, Shanghai Shenhua.

Happenings Media