Man United striker Odion Ighalo paid £1 million to build an orphanage in Nigeria


Odion Ighalo has achieved his boyhood dream of signing for Manchester United.

“They were my team growing up,” Ighalo said in a 2016 interview.

“I loved watching Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke on TV. They were my idols and playing at Old Trafford has always been a dream.”

The Nigerian forward completed his loan move to United from Shanghai Shenhua on transfer deadline day, joining the Red Devils until the end of the season.

While not the flash name that many supporters wanted, Ighalo will add depth to an attacking group that has been affected by Marcus Rashford’s injury.

Ighalo’s journey is an incredible story. In an interview with the Telegraph in 2016, he told of dodging bullets during training and his mother buying his first pair of football boots after selling bottled water and soft drinks.

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The 30-year-old was one of seven children who grew up without proper sanitation, limited electricity and violent surroundings.

Ighalo’s life is much more comfortable now and he’s given back to his home country by funding an orphanage in Lagos.

The Man United striker, who is paid £300,000-per-week by Shanghai Shenhua, opened the Ighalo Orphanage Home in Ijegun, a property-stricken suburb in northern Lagos, in December 2017.

Ighalo was raised in Ajegunle, 50km away from Ijegun, and wanted to give back, spending a reported 500 million Nigerian naira - around £1m - on the home, according to The Sun.

"Life was tough growing up in Ajegunle and I vowed that if I eventually had a breakthrough, I'll give back to the society that made me," the 29-year-old said on the Foundation's website.

"Life's challenges were hard enough even with both parents at my side.

"It goes without saying that orphans have it even worse and it gladdens my heart that life has offered me this rare privilege to be a guiding light in their life."


The Ighalo Orphanage Home houses between 30 to 40 children and looks after them until they turn 18, educating them and giving them the chance to play sports.

The orphanage wasn't Ighalo’s first steps into philanthropy.

During an interview with the Mirror in 2015, he revealed he sends money back home to his family and those less well-off.

“My family are No1. Every month I send money back home to them, but I also send donations to the less privileged because I come from poverty.

"I send money to kids, to schools, and I'm taking care of around 45 widows, women who have no husbands, and I'm trying to start a charity organisation to give something back.

"I know what it's like to have nothing."

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