Greenland Shanghai Shenhua of China striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has declared how delighted he is with his return to action with his club last weekend, and says even missing a penalty on the night does not take anything away from his joy.
Although many of his club’s fans felt deflated by Ighalo’s missed penalty, the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer stressed that it is a wonderful feeling for him playing once again, after several weeks out with injury, since his last match with the Super Eagles.
That was when he scored his fifth goal of this year’s AFCION in Egypt, in a 1-0 win against Tunisia during the third place match, and was officially crowned the competition’s top goals scorer, after which he announced his retirement from international football, then continued fighting his way back to full recovery, in order to renew his hunt for goals with his new club.
With that rehabilitation completed during the past week, Ighalo returned to the hunting fields, and admitted afterwards that he was totally thrilled to be back doing what he loves doing best, as he is delighted to return to action since last playing in July.
Despite going on as a second half substitute, Ighalo could not help his side overturn the three-goal deficit against Mikel Obi’s former club, Tianjin Teda, during which the 30-year-old striker even missed a spot-kick as Shenhua’s struggle for survival in the Chinese top-flight continue.
In his first match back in the Chinese Super League (CSL), Ighalo was on for 35 minutes and had 21 touches to the ball, but he could not score, despite also getting two shots on and off target, with one blocked, as his side lost 3-0, yet he is picking positives from the historic game.
Ighalo declared philosophically: “I am pleased to be back on the field of play. It wasn’t a great start as I expected, but I am ready to give my best for my club. It gladdens my heart that I am back to do what I know how to do best.
“Football is part of me and staying off, not playing, was a thing of worry but all that is behind me now. I am looking forward to a great season where I can contribute my quota to my club, that’s my focus now.”