Former Super Eagles’ hitman, Odion Ighalo has revealed that he was forced out of his Saudi Arabia’s club, Al Hilal to make space for Lionel Messi.
As it turned out eventually, Messi opted for the America’s Major League Soccer, MLS. Ighalo who scored 42 goals in 58 games for Al Hilal across two seasons made the revelation to UK tabloid, The Sun.
It was in similar situation that Cameroon’s captain, Vincent Aboubakar was offloaded by Al Nassr to make room for Cristiano Ronaldo earlier. Had Messi joined Al Hilal, the lingering but now nascent rivalry with Ronaldo would have been renewed.
Now without a club, Ighalo had previously played for Al Shabab where he scored 22 goals in 32 games. The race for Messi’s signature was one of the biggest transfers this summer, as his PSG contract ran down.
According to another publication, Foot Mercato, Messi was offered a staggering £1billion over two years by Al-Hilal.
“I’m shocked [Lionel] Messi didn’t go to Saudi Arabia because it was part of why my contract was not being extended,” The Sun of UK reported that he told Germany-based Nigerian journalist, Oma Akatugba.
“I thought it was a done deal. The money they were offering him in Saudi [Arabia] was crazy.
“He was going to earn twice what [Cristiano] Ronaldo was earning. I was shocked he didn’t go there. He chose Miami.”