Ighalo claims he will ‘walk off’ if he is racially abused on the pitch
Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has vowed to leave the pitch if he is racially abused again in his career.
The forward, who is currently on loan from Shanghai Shenhua, revealed that he was called ‘all sorts of names’ by an opposition player during a match in China – something he reported to the Chinese FA.
No action was taken after Ighalo decided to ‘let it go’ but has now said he is prepared to walk off the pitch if he is subjected to racist abuse again.
‘If it happens to me I would report it to the referee and see what they do, but if they don’t take action about it then I’m going to walk off because it should not be done to any player or anyone in the world,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘In one game in China I got called all sorts of names and after the game, I didn’t shake his hand. I walked straight into the dressing room, I was angry, I reported it to the FA.
‘I didn’t press forward with it, I just let it go because I’m just this kind of guy. I don’t like to drag issues out. But I don’t think it should be condoned in any country.’
The 30-year-old has backed the Black Lives Matter campaign, a movement re-energised on a global scale since the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota, USA.
Global riots have been ongoing since Floyd’s death with the world of sport continuing to mobilise behind the movement that is looking to eradicate racism.
Ighalo realises that change can ‘take time’ but insists that no-one should ever condone racism.
‘Nobody should condone racism,’he added. ‘We are all human. Despite the colour of our skin, we are all the same, we live in the same world, the same life. I don’t condone racism, but at the same time, I don’t condone riots.
‘We have to start from the younger generation, educate them, let them see that all humans are the same. We should fight for humanity not colours.’
Solskjaer confident Man Utd are ready to continue from where they let off
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been encouraged by the competitive edge and camaraderie in his Manchester United squad as they prepare for the resumption of the Premier League season.
United are due to face Tottenham away on June 19 in their first match since beating LASK 5-0 in the Europa League on March 12.
The victory in Austria stretched their unbeaten run to 11 matches and Solskjaer is confident they can continue where they left off.
‘The first game is two weeks from today so we need to step up the training and get an edge to our game again,’ Solskjaer told United’s official website.
‘Everyone knows that we will have to be at our best, have to be focused [against Tottenham].
‘We know it’s a big game for everyone. We had Chelsea when we started the league this season so I’m confident that our players can go into the Tottenham game with that mentality of going there to play a very good game of football.’
After their clash against former manager Jose Mourinho’s side, United welcome fellow European hopefuls Sheffield United to Old Trafford on June 24 before travelling to Brighton on June 30 – after an FA Cup quarter-final at Norwich on June 27.
It is a hectic period of fixtures, but Solskjaer believes his side are ready for the challenge.
‘Training has been about recapping what we did well, tweaking maybe one or two things and looking at some new ideas, but hopefully we can see a lot of what we saw towards the end before the lockdown,’ the Norwegian added.
‘We’ve got games coming weekend, midweek, weekend for a spell so you have to focus on ourselves and not just on that one, first game.
‘I think everyone can see over the last few months how the players have behaved and dealt with the situation and how we as a club have dealt with it. The players have kept themselves fit as well, which has been great.
‘The weather was fantastic when they got going in small groups and gradually now, as we’ve got into contact training, you can see a little bit more of the edge but also the camaraderie and team bonding.
‘That’s vital for me in a team. That’s one of the main things, that we are a team and the team goes before anything else.’