Challenge SPORT

Dream bigger than £300,000

Watford are currently enjoying life in the premier League – but one of their strikers is enjoying the top flight so much he turned down millions to move to China.

Odion Ighalo
WATFORD, ENGLAND: Odion Ighalo of Watford evades a challenge from Mathieu Flamini of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road on December 26, 2016 in Watford, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Odion Ighalo reportedly earns £300,000 a week at Watford, but the Nigerian international says he was offered ten times that to leave the Hornets last year.

With Watford on the brink of returning to the Premiership, Odion was promised £40 million over four years to leave.

When he refused, the Chinese continued upping their offer, but he still said "no" – and signed a new contract with Watford in 2015.

Odion had dreamed of playing in the Premiership since he was a kid, and that meant more to him than money.

It also didn't feel right when he prayed about it.

He told The Daily Mail: "That kind of money is not easy to turn down. Some team-mates in the dressing room were saying, 'You can't miss this chance'. But I don't jump into decisions like that.

"I prayed about it, and God said it was not for me, no matter how much money it was. I knew God would direct me. When I said I didn't want to go they offered me more. I told them it wasn't about the money – I could not sell my dream.

"When the time is right to go to China I will know. If it's for me it will come to pass."

“This meant more than money”Odion obviously isn't greedy. In fact, he regularly sends some of his wages to his extended family back in Nigeria and to Nigerian charities helping impoverished children, schools, and widows.

He grew up in Ajegunle, a slum in Lagos notorious for poverty and crime, where he once dodged bullets while training.

But the town has a reputation for producing some of Nigeria's best footballers, including Taribo West, Obafemi Martins, and Brown Ideye.

"I'm happy to be one of them," Odion says. "I'm proud to be Nigerian and to have come from a ghetto like that. It is not the best place to grow up. It wasn't easy and it has been a rough journey. But it gave me strength to work and keep struggling.

"Looking back, I can't complain. Hard work and the grace of God have paid off in my life."

Odion is also known for pointing up to God in thanks whenever he scores.

"I am a Christian and I believe so much in God," he says. "I'm not perfect. I have my flaws. I am human. Only God is perfect. I try to acknowledge Him in my life.

"Whatever I am now and what I am going to be is through God.

"I want to return the glory to Him when I score goals, and that's why I go down on my knees, point my hands to the sky, and says, 'This goal is dedicated to you'.

"I believe He gave me the strength to score the goals. I don't care what anyone says about that. I don't think anything in life will ever stop me believing in God."?

Article courtesy of Good News newspaper.

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