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Odion Ighalo: I’ve rejected Barcelona

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Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo has revealed he rejected Barcelona in the January transfer window, because ‘he deserves better’.

The former Watford striker Odion Ighalo says he turned down a Barcelona move in January to stay in the Chinese Super League.

“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,” Ighalo told BBC Sport.

“It was meant to be a six-month loan and strictly as a back-up striker. It was nice to hear that Barcelona was 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,” Ighalo added.

Ighalo previously spent five years in La Liga, playing for Granada and Barcelona saw him as a short-term solution in the attack, but as the striker says he is happy in China at the moment.

He believes that he deserves better than a 6-month contract, and insists that has no regrets he rejected to play in the Champions League for Barca.

“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.”