Super Eagles star Odion Ighalo has said he nearly called time on his international career following death threats to his family in the wake of the 2018 World Cup.
Ighalo missed some chances in Nigeria’s 2-1 defeat to Argentina, leading to the west Africans’ crash from the tournament in Russia.
But the former Watford man is now in the good books of Nigerians after bagging five goals for Gernot Rohr’s team in the back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with Libya.
Speaking after the victory over the North Africans, Ighalo thanked Rohr for encouraging him in difficult times.
“I know the fans want me to score goals. I understand them,” the China-based player told Kwese Sports. “But some of them took it to another level.
“They said a lot of things. To my innocent kids, to my wife, even to the extent they threatened my life and the life of my family.”
He added that he “felt very bad [when they went after my family]. I had to talk to my wife because she could not take it.
“Some words they said about my kids, about me. Some words they said to her, threatening and all that. That is beyond football.
“You know women and how they react when you talk about their children. But I never said a word to nobody and I never replied anybody.”
Ighalo added: “I want to thank Rohr because after the World Cup and all those things happened, he called me before the Seychelles game [in September] and I told him I was contemplating stopping because it is not easy.”
Ighalo said: “I am not trying to prove anybody wrong. I am just trying to work hard for my country and I always give [a] hundred percent.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen the way I wanted it at the World Cup. But life did not end there. I went back to my club, and I continued my game.
“Now I am back here to play for my country. I just want to give [a] hundred percent whenever I play, goal or no goal. As long as the team wins, I am satisfied.”