Odion Ighalo has said an emotional goodbye to Manchester United after his “lifelong dream” of playing for the Red Devils came to an end.
The striker was signed last February on loan from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, initially on a deal until the end of the 2019-20 season.
The 31-year-old enjoyed a productive first few months at Old Trafford as an alternative striker option to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, providing five goals and two assists in 19 appearances in all competitions.
United won 13, drew four and lost just twice in games in which Ighalo featured last term as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side enjoyed a strong second half of the season, finishing third in the Premier League and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Europa League.
Due to the season being prolonged by the coronavirus pandemic, Ighalo’s loan was extended until January 30 this year, but the signing of Edinson Cavani on a free transfer reduced the Nigerian’s opportunities and he has played only four times in 2020-21.
On Tuesday, a heavy-hearted Ighalo confirmed via social media that his time at the club he has supported all his life is now over.
However, he was eager to thank manager Solskjaer for giving him the “honour” of playing in the famous red shirt.
“It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end,” Ighalo wrote. “But I give God the glory for helping me fulfill this life long [sic] dream of putting on a Manchester United shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honor I will forever cherish and be grateful for.
“To the manager I say thank you for trusting and believing in me when many did not, to my amazing team-mates I will miss you guys, it was always fun and a time I look [sic] forward to training and spending time with all of you. And I pray we win the LEAGUE and FA cup this year.
“To the best fans in the world (the Manchester United fans) we have missed you, but we hear your voices cheering us on from afar, we can’t wait to have you all back on the stands.