Odion Ighalo has refused to be drawn into speculation surrounding his future at Manchester United, and believes football must come secondary to health amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The 30-year-old has enjoyed a successful stint at Old Trafford since a surprise loan move was completed in January, but could find his time at his boyhood club cut short due to the world health pandemic.
Ighalo’s six-month loan spell could expire before action resumes, but the ex-Nigerian international is adamant that discussing his future would be insensitive.
After scoring four goals in all competitions since leaving Shanghai Shenhua, both Ighalo and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have hinted that the deal could be turned permanent.
But currently, the frontman’s terms are set to run out on June 30 and football appears increasingly unlikely to have restarted by that point.
However, Ighalo stressed that he is not thinking about his own predicament, and says that the pandemic sweeping across the world must be prioritised ahead of sport.
‘The challenge before us now is not a football one, but a global one.
‘You can’t put football before health challenges. What matters right now is to keep safe and pray for those battling with the virus to recover fully.
‘This is another reminder for us to share love in this world. Continue to show kindness to one another because a problem facing one is a problem to all.’
United have cancelled all first-team training sessions indefinitely after the top flight was postponed until April 30 at the earliest.
Ighalo added: ‘We are all working individually away from the training ground and staying fit at home.
When questioned over his contract dilemma, Ighalo told The Sun: ‘Talking about other things now will not only be selfish but terribly insensitive. I don’t even think about it.
‘Of course I miss football, like other players and fans. But lives matter.
‘Staying safe and alive is our biggest game in the world now – and we all have a role to play in it.’
The former Watford ace experienced first-hand how coronavirus has rocked the sporting world after originally completing his switch to United.