The former Manchester United forward has been one of the finest finishers in Saudi Arabia but he recognises another who has been on top of his game for club and country
Nigeria and Al Hilal forward Odion Ighalo has hailed France and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema as the best striker in the world.
Benzema has often been mentioned in the same breath as some of the world’s elite strikers in Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, and Portugal’s megastar Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the former Lyon ace had an unforgettable 2022, helping Real Madrid win La Liga, the Supercopa de España, the UEFA Champions League, and the UEFA Super Cup.
Benzema then crowned it all with several individual honours including the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, the Golden Player Man Award, the UEFA Champions League Player of the Season, and ultimately the Ballon d’Or.
And Ighalo believes that is enough evidence to back the claims that the 35-year-old is better than his peers in the business.
“For me, at the moment, he’s the best striker [in the world],” Ighalo told FIFA.
“He’s been incredible over the last two years. I’m very happy that he’s been winning awards.”
Ighalo loves goals
Ighalo has also not been a slouch in front of goal with the former Manchester United star ending the year among Nigeria’s most prolific goalscorers in 2022.
This season, Ighalo has already smashed in eight goals in 12 games for Al-Hilal and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer confesses that scoring goals bring him a lot of joy.
“I’m happy. Strikers enjoy goals,” Ighalo said.
“Sometimes the goals don’t come, but I work hard and give my best to contribute. It’s a team effort. My target is to help the team win, to help the team keep progressing. Sometimes I score goals, sometimes I don’t, but I’m happy as long as we’re winning.
“As a striker though, you want to score goals to boost your confidence. I try to get a goal in every game I play. If not, I try to provide an assist. But ultimately, as long as my team wins, I’m happy.”
Ighalo joined Al-Hilal SFC for €2.90m in January 2022 from rivals Al-Shabab and led the Asian Galacticos to the league title.