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Odion Ighalo has confirmed his time at Manchester United has come to an end following the end of a year-long loan spell from Shanghai Shenhua.

The 31-year-old former Nigeria international joined United in a shock January move last year on an initial six-month deal that was later extended to 12 months.

He’d expressed a wish to stay at United for the rest of this season but also revealed an interest in moving to Major League Soccer.

“It’s so hard to see this dream come to an end,” he said in an emotional post on Instagram. “But I give God the glory for helping me fulfill this lifelong dream of putting on a Manchester United shirt as a player and represent this great club, it was indeed an honor I will forever cherish and be grateful for.

“To the manager (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) I say thank you for trusting and believing in me when many did not, to my amazing teammates I will miss you guys, it was always fun and a time I look forward to training and spending time with all of you. And I pray we win the league and FA Cup this year.

“To the best fans in the world (the Manchester United fans) we have missed you, but we hear your voices cheering us on from afar, we can’t wait to have you all back on the stands.

“I’m still and would remain a Manchester United fan forever. Once a Red, always a Red. Thank you Manchester United and God bless.”

Ighalo initially played a vital role for the Reds following his move but was pushed down the pecking order at Old Trafford following the arrival of Edinson Cavani in the summer.

The former Watford man nevertheless made a key contribution to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team at the end of last season, scoring five goals in 19 appearances as United reached the semifinals of the FA Cup and Europa League, as well as finishing third in the Premier League to secure a return to the Champions League.

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