LB presents the Full Story of a Football Genius who is known by the name; “Odion”. Our Odion Ighalo Childhood Story plus Untold Biography Facts brings to you a full account of notable events from his childhood time till date. The analysis involves his life story before fame, family life and many OFF and ON-Pitch facts (little-known) about him.
Yes, everyone knows about his Premier League history with Watford but few consider our Odion Ighalo’s Biography which is quite interesting. Now without further adieu, let’s Begin.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Early Life
His full names are Odion Jude Ighalo. He was born on the 16th day of June 1989 in the ghetto area of Ajegunle, a rough neighbourhood of Nigeria’s Lagos state notorious for producing many musicians and ghetto kings. Odion was born to his mother, Martina Ighalo (a former petty trader) and Father, Paul Ighalo.
Ighalo started from the slum and grew up in a poor family setting. In his words… “Back then in Ajegunle, it was difficult to live, difficult to eat and that is why I thank God. My parents didn’t always have what we wanted or needed, we had to struggle,” he told The Guardian.
While his father was mostly unemployed, his mother owned a petty shop where she sells drinks and provisions. Madam Ighalo used to carry her wares and rushed to hawk ‘pure water’ so that her son, Odion Ighalo can play football. She’ll save some money to buy football boots for her son while his dad goes opposite to pays his transport money to go school. There was indeed, a clash.
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 while his dad wanted him to go to school and study because it was safer than being in the open field. Pa Paul Ighalo’s case was well built.
As a boy, Odion Ighalo and his football team-mates would hit the deck when they heard gunfire during training. The bullets didn’t know the difference between the young footballers and the drug dealers selling their narcotics on a corner of the pitch, who the police were targeting. As DailyMail reported, growing up in the Ajegunle ghetto, at the heart of Nigerian city Lagos, life can be like that. This was why his dad rejected him becoming a footballer.
As Ighalo puts it, …“My mum stood beside me and protected him from my dad who would spank him for leaving school to play football”
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Career, in Summary
Back then, Odion Ighalo can use to travel locally to play football within his Ajegunle’s neighbourhood where he trains with other football players. In a bid to get out of poverty, Odion had to stop schooling to take football professionally. He ignored the consequences from his dad. Despite the poverty surrounding his circumstances, the onetime young and aspiring player was very determined to make it in his chosen career. He played sometimes on an empty stomach.
When Ighalo started on the streets of Lagos, he never anticipated playing in the English Premier League. He was determined to play football and make some money to fend for his family and take care of his caring mother. The talented amateur baller played on the same local pitch called “Maracana” in the Tolu community area of Ajegunle. It was the pitch where the likes of Emmanuel Amunike and Kanu Nwankwo played as amateurs. He started playing professionally with Prime FC and later moved to Julius Berger pictured below.
His miracle finally came. Odion was discovered by Argentine FIFA agent Marcelo Houseman (pictured below) who recommended him and took him on trial to Norway.
In Norway, he passed his trials and first played as a professional in Lyn Oslo where he scored nine goals in 20 games before moving on to Udinese – Italy. It didn’t take long before Granada came calling where he became a Legend for the club, helping them to get progress to the Spanish La Liga in 2011. The Spanish club named part of its stadium after him. This legendary feat attracted the English League club, Watford. The rest, as they say, is now history.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Relationship Life
Outside the pitch, Ighalo is a loving father of three kids and attributes his successful career to his beautiful wife and childhood sweetheart, Sonia Ighalo pictured below.
Sonia supports her husband both emotionally and spiritually. In her words…“Anytime, before he goes out to play a game, I always pray for him and wish him the very best. It’s been God, He has been so faithful to us and we give Him all the thanks. There’s nothing much that I really do behind but I do encourage him as my husband anytime he’s out there playing,” Sonia Ighalo told Nigeria’s Punch Newspaper.
The Social Man: Odion recently started bringing his family out on social media which made many people think he’s wasn’t single as against old belief. Below is a photo of Odion Ighalo with his pretty wife, mother and kids on a boat cruising in China.
Ighalo loves his mum so much that he never fails to carry her along with him on his family expedition. Surely, his wife Sonia bonds with her mother in law.
The Father-Daughter Love: Ighalo and his only daughter share an enviable bond, that no one in his family, even his mother can match up to. Both father and daughter are practically inseparable, and their love only grows stronger with time. Below is a photo of both.
A Real Father: Ighalo is indeed, a proud family man who has taken his personal life away from football said, “Of course I’m married with kids and I don’t talk about my family and relationship, it is personal,” he told Nigeria’s Naij.
He continued…“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, I want to say that my marriage has recently has made me be a complete man,”
Without a doubt, Odion has shown he is much of a family man, as he doesn’t shy away from sharing wonderful moments with his lovely children.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Family Facts
Very little has been said about his dad since the beginning of this write-up. Ighalo might not have been really close to him because of he might have never bonded well with him as a kid. More so, owing to the fact that he was against him being a footballer.
Unfortunately, Odion Ighalo’s late dad, Pa Paul Ighalo is late and was buried the same day he died (His Personal death Wish) in Agidigbo, Imadu, Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State. Below is a picture of Late Pa Paul before his death. Meer looking at the picture suggests he had his son while he was in his 50’s.
Speaking about his father’s death, Odion’s brother, Daniel Ighalo, said: “My father was in his late 90’s and never complained of being sick. Unfortunately, in the early hours of a fateful morning, we were told that he had taken ill. A nurse from the Faithland Hospital came around to attend to him before he gave up the ghost. We were all shocked because nothing was wrong with him. On Monday morning when people knew he was late, our house was a sort of Mecca until his corpse was moved to Edo State that same day for burial.”
The death of Papa Paul Ighalo left Odion Ighalo dumbfounded considering the fact that he had a father-son conversation with him only two days before his death which papa prayed for him to score goals as he was experiencing Goal drought.
His Mother Again: Madam Ighalo is alive and surely reaping the fruits of her labour. She is now settled with a comfortable life and shelter, a just reward for her devotion, commitment and sacrifice to her son. The Ighalo’s now live in Lagos’s city centre for the good life, concluding a wonderful story of moving from grass to grace.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –A Boxing Fan
Ighalo is a fun persona and that is very obvious in his social media posts. But little do people know Ighalo is a boxing fan as evidenced by his attendance at Anthony Joshua’s World Heavyweight bout against American Charles Martin.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –A Late Entry into National Team
Odion Ighalo got into the national team late. Despite his early promise at Udinese and Watford and Watford in the Championship, Ighalo never got into the national team until he was 26. Former interim coach Daniel Amokachi called him up for the first in March 2015.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Punishment for ‘Thank You Jesus’ inscription
Referee Ghead Grisha once gave Ighalo a yellow card for after the forward lifted his shirt to reveal a ” Thank You Jesus” inscription shortly after giving Nigeria a goal. As if the yellow card wasn’t enough, FIFA also threatened to give him additional sanction. According to their rules, Football players are banned from the display of political, unapproved commercials, religious or personal message in undershirts.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Selflessness
He gives back to the society immensely. “I’m planning to open an orphanage in Lagos” Ighalo once said. “I don’t do these things because I want people to praise me. I’ve been doing them before I joined Watford – ever since God started blessing me I have been helping the kids, helping the widows.”
Also, according to Pastor Benjamin Igoh, founder of Nigeria’s Wazobia Widows Foundation, Ighalo has gotten an undying passion for the less privileged, particularly in Ajegunle, where the striker began his career before leaving for Europe, is the reason behind his form.
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.
Odion Ighalo Childhood Story Plus Untold Biography Facts –Multi-Lingual
Without a doubt, one of the benefits of playing in numerous leagues across Europe is the opportunity to learn different languages and culture. This is the case of Odion Ighalo.
At 27, Ighalo has managed to play in four top leagues in Europe. This by implication means he is able to converse in three other languages apart from English. Did You Know??.. Ighalo once acted as an interpreter for Spanish and Italian players at the Hornets.
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