5 personal facts you probably didn’t know about Odion Ighalo at 27

Odion Ighalo

Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo, on Thursday, June 16, clocked 27.

Born in 1989 in Lagos, the talented Watford hitman hails from Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State.

With 15 goals and three assists, Ighalo was seventh top scorer in the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League ahead of the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Wayne Rooney.

To mark this special day, we highlight  five facts about this great footballer outside the game of football.

  1. Started from the slum

Just like many other Nigerian footballers, Odion Ighalo began his playing career from the streets in a suburb known as Ajegunle in Lagos State. The former Granada man used to train at a local pitch called ‘Maracana’ – same used by greats such as Taribo West and Emmanuel Emenike.

He shared his experience with CNN: “I could remember when we were training in the field, then some people stole and they ran across the field we were playing while they were being chased by the police,” Ighalo revealed.

“We had to run and bend down because stray bullets can hit anybody. I was so afraid that day but this is how things are there. We cannot change it .”

  1. Parents differed on career choice

As it is the case with many young lads growing up in Nigeria, Ighalo’s parents disagreed about their son’s desire to become a footballer. While his mum supported his quest, his dad wanted him to go to school and study.

“My mum stood beside me because sometimes my dad want to spank me for going to play football.

“I come back and I don’t do my homework and all that. I can remember they would argue.”

  1. Devoted Christian

Ighalo is known to be a devout Christian who also often dedicates part of his wages for Nigerian charitable organisations to help impoverished children, schools and widows below the poverty line.

“My family are No.1 – every month I send money back home to them, but I also send donations to the less privileged because I come from poverty,” the striker told Mirror in 2015.

“I send money to kids, to schools, and I’m taking care of around 45 widows, women who have no husbands.”

  1. Father of three

Outside the pitch, Ighalo is a loving father of three kids who attributes his successful career to his wife.

He told Goal about his family: “I want to say that my marriage which marked six years recently has made me to be a complete man.

“My wife has been very crucial to my impressive career. She has been able to build a good home and she makes me and the children happy. She is everything to me .”

  1. Multilingual

One of the benefit of playing in numerous leagues across Europe is the opportunity to learn different languages and culture. At 27, Ighalo has managed to play in four top leagues in Europe – meaning he is able to converse in three other languages apart from English. Last season, he usually acts as interpreter for Spanish and Italian players at the Hornets.