John Obi Mikel has retired from the Nigerian national team, post their third place finish in the 2019 African Cup Of Nations (AFCON). The midfielder who left Chelsea back in 2017, has finally decided to hang up his boots and say goodbye to international football. The 32 year old midfielder who made his debut for Nigeria back in 2006, has now decided to move on in life.
Mikel had made a total of 249 appearances for the west London outfit and had won multiple titles with the club over the years. He was at Stamford Bridge, right through the ups and downs that the club had gone through, before being let go of by former boss Antonio Conte.
It did not go down well with the fans, as he was never given the right kind of opportunity to say a proper goodbye to them. He had been one of the long-term servants to the club and deserved that. Mikel was sold to Chinese Super League club Tianjin TEDA, from where he eventually joined Middlesbrough and then moved to Turkey.
He is now with Turkish outfit Trabzonspor and will hope to make an impact there. He has been a manager’s friend, wherever he has played so far and this has been one of his biggest assets.
Back in the day when the Blues were growing, they were in need of players that could hold the midfield and the team together and Mikel was one such player. He started off under Portuguese boss Jose Mourinho and eventually grew as the years went by. His success added to the success of the club, as he was one of their key players back then.
Post Mourinho’s departure, Mikel would be in and out of the team, but eventually was around for various managerial changes, before the return of “The Special One”. He was always loyal to the club and did not move away. Even on his eventual departure from The Bridge, the player suggested that Conte never let him have a say in the move and he was rather forced out.
Such was the loyalty of the player, which he also showcased at the international level. He managed a total of 89 caps and scored six times, between 2005 and 2019. His hard-work won him a winners’ medal at the 2013 Africa Cup in South Africa, which was a major highlight for his career.
The Super Eagles were one of the favourites to go on and win the AFCON this time, though were outdone by a superb Mahrez free-kick goal. This was really heart-breaking for them, as they were expected to win the match, but the late goal coming from the Manchester City man undid all the good work that they had done right through the tournament.
Eventually, it was Algeria that went on to win the tournament and Nigeria beat Tunisia to finish third. However, Mikel would have been disappointed that it was not them claiming the winner’s medals and decided it was time to go.
Not just the fans of The Super Eagles, but all football fans across the globe will miss his presence in “green” on the pitch, but everything good must someday end. We thank Mikel for his contribution to World football and wish him the very best for the journey that lies ahead. Cheers!!