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Ugbo: Why the prospect of Super Eagles abandoned the Messi opportunity to sign at Genk, not Marseille

The descent from Nigeria explained some of the decisions he made during the summer transfer window before leaving Stamford Bridge permanently

Genk goal scorer Ike Ugbo said he turned down an offer to join Ligue 1 club Marseille because he thought it was a mistake in his career.

The 22-year-old returned to Belgium in August after spending the entire 2020-21 season at Cercle Brugge.

A move to Marseille could have given Ugbo a chance to play against six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who moved to PSG in August, but the former Chelsea youngster said he chose to join the Smurfs to join for a four-year deal because of the insurance he received from the club management.

‘The young Ugbo might have chosen Marseille: a big club, in the south of France, close to the family [who lives in Nice]. The prospect of playing against Lionel Messi [at PSG] “But the current Ugbo think it could be a mistake,” Ugbo said. Sport/FootMagazine via Tribal football.

“After Cercle, Genk seems to me the ideal step to take a further step. Why Genk? Mainly because of the players who made their mark in the past. When I see where they ended up.

“When you’re young, you do not pay too much attention to that kind of thing, otherwise I would have come earlier. I spoke to the club at the end of last season and they had a wonderful project for me.”

Ugbo made a goal debut for Genk just before the international break by clinching his 1-0 victory over Anderlecht on 29 August.

Earlier this month, the English-born striker said he had begun the process of changing nationality to play for Nigeria on the international scene.

“Other teams came to the fore, but I felt like at this point in my career I could find what I needed. It was the project that won me over,” he added.

“I’m not yet at the level where I can consider winning the Champions League, or playing a big role elsewhere. I need to be smarter in my choices.”

Genk are in the Uefa Europa League after winning the Belgian Cup last season and will start their group campaign on Thursday with a trip to Rapid Wien.

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