Former Nigeria international Odion Jude Ighalo has spoken about his ‘dream’ move to Manchester United.
The former Watford striker, who announced his retirement from international football following the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, will be unveiled by the Red Devils later this week after completing a deadline day loan move to Old Trafford from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
The 30-year-old expressed his delight upon his arrival in Manchester.
“It’s a dream come true because since I was a kid I followed and dreamt of Manchester United,” Ighalo told Sky Sports News.
“But it is a reality now. I cannot say much more now until I get started.”
He added: “It’s been crazy. Obviously, I am happy to be in Manchester first of all.
“This is a great opportunity for me and I am grateful to God, and to my agent, and the coach who has given me this opportunity to be here.
“I am happy to be here and to work out with the team and finish very well this season”.
Odion Ighalo has been handed the no.25 squad number at Manchester United which was previously worn by Antonio Valencia who left Old Trafford in the summer.
Ighalo scored 39 goals in 99 appearances for Watford, and also emerged as top scorer at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt where Nigeria finished in third place. United currently occupy seventh place in the English Premier League.
Breaking: Arsenal manager tests positive for Corona Virus
Gunners boss is the latest high-profile figure to contract the virus
Gunners boss is the latest high-profile figure to contract the virus.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus as the pandemic continues to affect the sporting calendar around the world.
A statement via the club’s official website reads: “Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive COVID-19 result this evening.
“Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines.
“We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.
“We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days.
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CAF denies audit allegations
African football governing body rejects claims of fraudulent transactions
The Confederation of African Football [CAF], has said the findings of an audit that concluded it was unreliable and untrustworthy are “unfounded”.
Details of the audit, by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), came out during the week. The audit questioned the body’s accounting, its governance, and its payments, which it found to be “unreliable and not trustworthy,” amongst its findings.
The audit also highlighted transactions totaling more than $20m (£15.4m) which either have “little or no supporting documentation” or were considered “higher risk”.
CAF released a statement addressing the audit and what it claims are “unfounded allegations contained in the report,” following an Executive Committee meeting in Doha on Friday.
It said officials from PwC were invited to the meeting but had “failed to make it.”
The statement specifically sought to address three areas in which questions had been raised: support payments made for the funerals of “individuals who have served African football”; the use of development funds linked to the FIFA Forward project; a deal with the little-known gym equipment maker Tactical Steel to supply sportswear.
CAF said the funeral payments were “acts of solidarity in support of families”, specifically naming the family of senior Kenyan football official Hussein Swaleh, who died in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.
It also said the use of FIFA Forward funds had been “strictly governed by procedures set by FIFA.” PwC’s audit had reviewed just under $10m of FIFA Forward payments to CAF and found only five of the 40 payments “appeared to be aligned to purpose” while the rest, totaling some $8.3m, either had “little or no supporting documentation” or were considered “unusual/higher risk”.
The Tactical Steel deal, into which the PwC report recommended an investigation, was also addressed, though CAF said only that “the procedures are before various jurisdictions” and that it was “ready to provide the relevant justification for the matter as previously authorized by the CAF Executive Committee.”
Mali’s Moussa Marega suffers racist abuse
FC Porto striker walked off the pitch after he was subjected to racist abuse from opposition fans
Mali international Moussa Marega walked off the pitch midway through his side’s win at Vitoria Guimaraes, saying he was subjected to racist abuse from fans.
The former Esperance de Tunis forward started to walk towards the exit in the 69th minute, nine minutes after scoring what would prove the winner in Porto’s 2-1 victory.
He pointed his thumbs down and also raised his middle fingers to the crowd.
Team-mates and opposition players tried to persuade him to stay on, but he was eventually substituted.
Marega in an Instagram post, said the home supporters “who come to the stadium to make racist screams” were “idiots”.
Coach of FC Porto, Sergio Conceicao said: “We are a family regardless of nationality, skin colour, hair colour. We are human, we deserve respect. What happened here is unfortunate.
“We are completely indignant about what happened. I know the passion that exists for Vitoria and I think most of the fans do not see themselves in the same attitude of some people who have insulted Moussa since the warm-up.”
Porto’s match report on their website described it as “a sad situation that should make the Guimaraes club and Portuguese football blush with shame”.
Team-mates including Alex Telles, Sergio Oliveira and Ivan Marcano all tried to stop Marega walking off the pitch, grabbing the Malian player around the waist – but he pushed everyone aside on his way to the tunnel.
Marega spent the 2016-17 campaign on loan at Vitoria, scoring 15 goals in 25 games.