Odion Ighalo, Nigerian professional player, has revealed that he rejected a move to join Barcelona on loan in January because he ‘deserved better’ than a short-term deal.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria striker, while on duty for relegated Changchun Yatai in the 2018 Chinese Super League season, had attracted interest from the European giants after he finished as the 2018 CSL’s second-top scorer with 21 goals.
In a chat with BBC Sport, the 29-year-old former Watford hitman said it was an ‘easy decision’ to reject their overtures, because “I deserve better and didn’t want to be a short-term player somewhere.”
“My agent spoke to me about a loan interest from Barcelona. The club wanted a striker with La Liga experience and someone who understands Spanish football,” said Ighalo.
“It was meant to be a six-month loan and strictly as a back-up striker. It was nice to hear that Barcelona were interested and any footballer would be more than happy to take it.
“But with due respect I had just finished as the second top scorer in China with 21 goals, I deserve better and didn’t want to be a short-term player somewhere.
“We rejected it, it was an easy decision to make and I chose to stay in China by joining Shanghai Shenhua on a longer contract.”
He added that he has no regrets over his decision to snub Barcelona and sign a three-year deal at Shanghai Shenhua.
“You need to weigh things up properly in life and ask yourself if it is your call to make, or one to satisfy others,” said Ighalo.
“I respect my decision. I needed to focus on what is good for my career long-term and when you decide to do something – you stay true to yourself. It wasn’t for me and I am happy where I am.
“I have no regrets or whatsoever because I am happy at Shanghai Shenhua. To reunite and play under my former Watford coach [Quique Sánchez Flores] is exciting and I love it.”