Africa Cup of Nations golden boot winner, Odion Ighalo, has decided to retire from international football after consulting with his family.
Recall that the 30-year old was a subject of mockery after Nigeria’s exit at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with some of his family members being bullied on social media.
Ighalo published an emotional farewell message to Super Eagles’ fans and his former Nigeria teammates on Saturday – a day after the conclusion of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
The China-based striker, who scored five goals at the Egypt tournament to emerge top scorer, helped Nigeria to win the bronze medal as one of the goals secured a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the third place playoff last Wednesday.
On his AFCON 2019 top scorer award feat, the Shanghai Shenhua striker tweeted on his Twitter handle: “All Glory To God,” before sending out a statement to officially announce his retirement.
“This is one of the most difficult career decisions I have had to take. It’s been an amazing five years journey, but after due consultation and extensive discussion with my family, I have decided it’s time for me to retire from the National team,” Ighalo said in a statement.
“It’s has been an eventful and most memorable opportunity to serve my country with pride, passion and to contribute my quota to the development of our football, the memories would stay with me for a long time and I’m immensely grateful.
“It is now time to concentrate on club football and give the younger players chance to learn and grow. I would love to thank the NFF, coach Gernot Rohr for believing in me against all odds, to my teammates for their professionalism and team spirit.
“Without you guys I wouldn’t have achieved so much with this team.
“To NIGERIAN football fans all over the world, I say THANK YOU, you were always there to cheer us on and our 12th players every time we step into the pitch.
“I will be watching and cheering the SUPER EAGLES from this side. Thank you… signing out.”
Ighalo scored 16 goals for Nigeria in 35 appearances, and he also captained the country’s Under-20 team to the 2009 World Cup, also held in Egypt.