Obafemi Martins Returns to Shanghai to Replace Ighalo

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Obafemi Martins

Duro Ikhazuagbe

With Odion Ighalo’s loan stint at Manchester United extended till January 31, 2021, his Chinese Super League club, Shanghai Shenhua have signed Nigeria and Inter Milan veteran forward, Obafemi Martins, on a free transfer.

The 35-year old returned to a familiar terrain having played for the CSL outfit between 2016 and 2018.

On Wednesday, Ighalo shared a video of himself on Instagram, wearing Shenhua kit with the rest of the squad, a source close to the player confirmed to Goal.com that he has been re-signed in a playing capacity.

Martins who returned for a second stint at Shehua’s Hongkou Football Stadium ground, scored 32 goals in 59 matches across all competitions for the Chinese heavyweights, while playing a key role in the giants’ Chinese FA Cup success in 2017.

The former Super Eagles forward however left the Shanghai-based team in 2018 after suffering a hamstring injury, and has been without a club ever since.

Martins’ return is expected to bolster Choi Kang-hee men’s firing power ahead of the resumption of the Chinese Super League.

The former Super Eagles striker recently told reporters that retirement was not on his agenda despite being without a club since leaving Shanghai in 2018.

“After my career-threatening injury in China, many people advised me to quit, but I told myself I still have a lot to offer the beautiful game,” he told Goal.com “Football is my life; I eat, drink and sleep football so I don’t see any reason to call time on something that makes me happy.

“I’m 34, but I feel like a teenager, and with this sensation, I can still play for any big team across the world. I’m thankful for what I have achieved in football but I thirst for more.

“That desire is still there, the desire to score more goals and win more titles. For my next move, I have got offers from the United States, China and Saudi Arabia but I will only move when I see the right bargain,” observed the players Lagos fans dubbed ‘Obagoal’ due to his proclivity for scoring goals.

Martins who played his debut for the Super Eagles in 2004 against the Republic Ireland scored 18 times from 42 caps.

His club career saw him ply his trade at Reggiana, Inter Milan, Newcastle, Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan, Birmingham City and Levante before moving to Seattle Sounders in 2016. It was from Seattle he moved Far East to join Shanghai.