Manchester United on-loan striker, Odion Ighalo has revealed why he decided to quit playing for the Super Eagles after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Ighalo called it quits on his international career after helping the national team win the bronze medal at the competition in Egypt.
The 30-year-old, who has been plying his trade in the Chinese Super League since 2017, has now explained how health concerns forced his decision to retire.
“I needed to stop because it is too long from China to Nigeria for national team duties,” he said in an Instagram Live interview with a Ghanaian journalist.
Ighalo has been in great form since arriving Old Trafford in January, having scored for goals in three starts for the Red Devils.
“I’m not getting younger and we have a lot of young exciting players coming up, Victor Osimhen doing so well, Alex Iwobi and Samuel Chukwueze are there.
“I thought about it, ‘this is the right time for me to leave.’”
He added, “It was a difficult decision because I love playing for my country, it’s a country that gave me everything I have today. So, anytime I was called upon to play for my country it was a joy to play.
“That decision was difficult but I have to do it for my health, for me to play longer in my club, so I had to stop travelling very far.”
Meanwhile, Ighalo is likely to remain at Manchester United if the Old Trafford club decide to keep him beyond the agreed six-month loan stay.
It is yet to be known if the striker would rescind his retirement decision after the switch is complete, as traveling from the UK to Nigeria would not be as destructive to the health as from China to Nigeria.