Odion Ighalo has opened up on his boyhood love of Manchester United in an interview to be screened on the BBC tomorrow.
Ighalo has hit the ground running since his 6 month loan move from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua was sealed at the 11th hour of transfer deadline day, scoring four goals in his first three starts for the Red Devils.
But in the interview Ighalo revealed that the move nearly didn’t happen.
‘I never believed it was going to happen because the time difference from China to the UK is crazy and with the coronavirus that is going on in China’ he told the BBC.
‘But dreams do come true. I prayed about it and it happened. When my agent told me about it I was hoping and longing, but I was having doubts in my mind because I was in China. How was I going to fly to the UK? Am I going to beat this coronavirus to get in and United have another striker they are looking at?’
‘When my agent called me and told me Manchester United wanted to do this deal I said “are you serious?”‘
The Nigerian has already become something of a cult hero at Old Trafford and part of the reason for that is his obvious love of the club and passion for the jersey.
‘It still feels like a dream sometimes. But I don’t want to get carried away with too much emotion so that I am able to concentrate on training well and playing well. I know I am playing for the biggest club in the world.’
‘To be the first Nigerian to play for Manchester United is a great achievement for me which I am going to cherish for the rest of my life because it’s not easy to dream something and it comes true. It’s a great feeling.’
Ighalo also spoke about the impact that Bruno Fernandes has had on United.
‘He’s a great player. He has vision. He’s the guy who wants the ball because he can do something fantastic with it if you give him space. He’s a good passer of the ball and he’s what this team needs to score goals.’
‘You’re still going to see more and better from him because he is still getting used to the Premier League.’
‘Before I came here I was hoping [United] would get him because he is a good player and I knew he was going to change the dynamic of the team.’
The 30-year-old also claimed to have played with the Portuguese star before, saying ‘It’s not my first time playing with Bruno. I played with him at Udinese back in 2010’. However, history shows that Bruno was still playing for Boavista Under 17’s in 2010. The two were both at Udinese in August 2013 and would have trained together but they never played a competitive match alongside one other.
But United fans will not care whether Ighalo gets his dates right as long as he gets it right on the pitch, and to say ‘so far, so good’ is an understatement after the dream start he has had to his Red Devils career.
United are through to the FA Cup quarter finals after their win at Derby. But how much do you know about the Red Devils’ history in the FA Cup? Take our quiz below to find out!