27-year old Nigerian striker, Brown Ideye, rejected an offer in February to play in the Chinese Super League, saying he is excited about playing for Greek champions Olympiakos and is not in any way tempted by China who lure players with monetary benefits.
It was unbelievable, money for the club and financially tempting for any footballer but I chose to stay here. My family love it here, and clearly happiness comes before money.
Brown Ideye was part of the Nigeria squad at the 2010 World Cup and at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations but has not played for the national side since coming on as a substitute in a friendly against Italy in November 2013 that ended 2-2.
The likes of high-profile players, such as Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, former Chelsea midfielder Ramires, Fredy Guarin, Ivory Coast forward Gervinho, Cameroon captain Stephane Mbia and compatriot Obafemi Martins, recently made switches to the Far East. But Ideye, who joined Olympiakos from West Bromwich Albion last summer and has 10 goals in 30 appearances so far this season, has no desire to join their number. He believes happiness is more important than any amount offered.
His goals and assists helped Olympiakos hit a record-extending 43rd Greek Super League title in late February. It was their 18th title in the last 20 seasons and was the earliest they had ever wrapped up the title. After winning his first league title in European football, Ideye wants to win more honours with the Greek giants and so does not give a hoot about the Chinese offer.
The Bayelsa-born says where he comes from in Nigeria, it’s easy to hear people give advice of going to China for the money, but he says he is happy at Olympiakos and does not have a genuine reason to leave the club. He says he has been shown love and Olympiakos is the place to be at the moment. According to Ideye, his ambitions are the same as Olympiakos’ because he came to the club with a strong desire to win titles and also to play regularly in the Champions League, which so far has been achieved.
I have individual goals and team goals; with the family atmosphere and strong fighting spirit within the club I believe we can achieve great things together. I want to continue winning trophies here and make a big contribution to the history of this great club.
Ideye scored 34 goals in 74 league appearances during his three seasons with Ukrainian side, Dynamo Kiev, before moving to England in July 2014. But the Super Eagle star had a disappointing and injury-hit season in English football after signing for a then club-record fee of £10 million at West Brom. He only made 31 appearances in all competitions scoring just seven goals for the Baggies, but has quickly put his disappointing spell at the Hawthorns behind him.
He also made his international debut for Nigeria in August 2010 and has scored five goals in 24 appearances for the Super Eagles. In 2013, he helped his country clinch their third African Cup of Nations title, scoring in the 4-1 semi-final victory over Mali. A member of their 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa, Ideye was omitted from the Super Eagles squad that reached the second round at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, he still strives to be exceptional at his game and holds high his integrity as a dedicated player.