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Former Inter Milan star Obafemi Martins to fill Odion Ighalo's boots at Shanghai Shenhua


Shanghai Shenhua unveil the signing of Nigeria forward Obafemi Martins (L) ahead of the 2020 Chinese Super League season, Shanghai, China, July 15, 2020. /VCG

When Nigerian veteran striker Obafemi Martins picked up a serious hamstring injury in 2018 before leaving Shanghai Shenhua, his playing days in professional leagues seem numbered. The 35-year-old has been without a club ever since. Retirement was surely on the cards.

However, in an unexpected twist, more than two years since his last competitive match, the former Inter Milan star made headlines again and rejoined Shenhua ahead of the 2020 Chinese Super League season which will belatedly start later this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shenhua did not reveal the details of Martins' contract in the official statement, but it is widely believed that he has signed a short-term deal after being tasked to fill the boots of his compatriot Odion Ighalo, whose loan deal at Manchester United has been extended until next year.

Obafemi Martins is back in football and rejoins the Chinese Super League. /Shanghai Shenhua official website

Ighalo has received huge plaudits since he swapped Shenhua for United. At the end of last month, he scored his fifth goal for the Premier League powerhouse at Carrow Road, becoming the first United player in 95 years to score in their first four competitive starts.

Martins, meanwhile, netted 32 goals in 59 appearances during his impressive first stint at Shenhua and played an extremely crucial role in helping the club clinch the Chinese FA Cup title in 2017. He also scored 18 goals for Nigeria before retiring from national duty.

Martins' arrival will undoubtedly add firepower to Shenhua, who will play their season opener against defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande on July 25. 


Shanghai Shenhua unveil the signing of Nigeria forward Obafemi Martins (L) ahead of the 2020 Chinese Super League season, Shanghai, China, July 15, 2020. /VCG

When Nigerian veteran striker Obafemi Martins picked up a serious hamstring injury in 2018 before leaving Shanghai Shenhua, his playing days in professional leagues seem numbered. The 35-year-old has been without a club ever since. Retirement was surely on the cards.

However, in an unexpected twist, more than two years since his last competitive match, the former Inter Milan star made headlines again and rejoined Shenhua ahead of the 2020 Chinese Super League season which will belatedly start later this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shenhua did not reveal the details of Martins' contract in the official statement, but it is widely believed that he has signed a short-term deal after being tasked to fill the boots of his compatriot Odion Ighalo, whose loan deal at Manchester United has been extended until next year.

Obafemi Martins is back in football and rejoins the Chinese Super League. /Shanghai Shenhua official website

Ighalo has received huge plaudits since he swapped Shenhua for United. At the end of last month, he scored his fifth goal for the Premier League powerhouse at Carrow Road, becoming the first United player in 95 years to score in their first four competitive starts.

Martins, meanwhile, netted 32 goals in 59 appearances during his impressive first stint at Shenhua and played an extremely crucial role in helping the club clinch the Chinese FA Cup title in 2017. He also scored 18 goals for Nigeria before retiring from national duty.

Martins' arrival will undoubtedly add firepower to Shenhua, who will play their season opener against defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande on July 25.