Moments after Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi called time on his international career, AFCON highest goal scorer, Odion Ighalo has also reportedly announced his retirement from the national team.
Former Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi on Thursday confirmed reports of his retirement through his official instagram account, bringing a close to a career that spanned about 15 years.
Shanghai Shenhua forward Odion Ighalo has now followed suit, according to ESPN.
Odion Ighalo has played his last game for Nigeria, sources telling @ColinUdoh that "he had discussed his decision with [Gernot Rohr] before the third-place match, saying .. constant abuse was taking a toll on his young family". https://t.co/JxSWA8lRcu #SuperEagles #AFCON2019
— Andy Withers (@witho68) July 18, 2019
It was learnt that the former Granada hotshot has reportedly informed Gernot Rohr of his decision which the coach accepted in good faith.
“He had discussed his decision with the coach before the third-place match, saying that the constant abuse was taking a toll on his young family, but he was advised to keep it under wraps for the moment,” the sources told ESPN.
The former Watford striker on Wednesday helped Nigeria claim a record 8th bronze medal at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles defeated the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia by a lone goal, with Ighalo netting that winner in the third minute of play.
“After the game, he gave his jersey as a souvenir to the coach, said his goodbyes and left.”
Ighalo, before the third place playoff against Tunisia, had posted a message on his WhatsApp status update that simply said “Final Game”.
“He has been very strong for us,” Rohr told ESPN.
“And it is sad that he wants not to continue.
“But the door always is open for him any time.”
The striker currently sits atop the goalscorer’s chart at the Total AFCON 2019 with five goals, two goals more than Sadio Mane and Riyadh Mahrez his closest challengers.
Mane’s Senegal and Mahrez’s Algeria do battle on Friday in the final of Egypt 2019.
It would be recalled that the 30-year-old was also the top goal scorer during the 2019 AFCON qualifying series with seven goals.
Ighalo was capped 35times, scoring 16 goals.
Soccernet wishes Odion Ighalo the very best in his future endeavour.