- The former Nigeria international has called time on a career that has brought him fame and fortune
Former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from football, ending one of the most successful careers ever enjoyed by a Nigerian.
Deployed predominantly as a defensive midfielder, Obi Mikel hangs his boots aged 35.
Obi Mikel has been without a club since leaving Kuwaiti side Kuwait SC last year.
In a statement published on his official Instagram account, Mikel wrote:
"There is a saying that all good things must come to an end”, and for my professional football career, that day is today.
I look back at the past 20 years of my career, and I must say that I am very satisfied with all that I was able to achieve and, more importantly, the human it has helped shape.
All of this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my family, managers, clubs, coaches, teammates and most importantly my ever-loyal fans. You supported me through my highs and lows, even on days that I did not live up to your expectations. I say a big thank you.
I will also like to encourage everyone who I may have inspired one way or the other in the course of my career to never give up on their dreams, for every time you think about quitting, remind yourself why you started.
This is not goodbye, it’s the start of another journey, another chapter of my life. I look forward to what the future holds and I hope you will walk with me."
Obi Mikel's legacy
Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006 after spells at NPFL's Plateau United and Norway's Lyn Oslo, spending over 11 years at Stamford Bridge.
Before moving to China with Tianjin TEDA in 2017, Mikel amassed 246 Premier League matches for Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cup honours.
The highlight of Mikel's time in London, however, remains lifting the 2012 UEFA Champions League, with the Nigerian claiming the player of the match honour in the final against Bayern Munich.
Mikel also won the 2013 Europa League with Chelsea.
On his return to Europe from Asia, Mikel played for Middlesbrough, Trabzonspor, and Stoke City, winning the 2020 Turkish Cup for the Black Sea Storm.
Mikel's legacy as a Nigerian great is also secured.
The Jos-born star helped Nigeria to secure a third-ever Africa Cup of Nations title, captaining the Super Eagles to glory in South Africa in 2013. That year, he finished as runner-up in the running for the African Footballer of the Year award.
Mikel was also a prominent member of the Super Eagles squad that earned bronze medals at the 2006, 2010, and 2019 AFCON.
Premier League: 2009–10, 2014–15
FA Cup: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2011–12
Football League Cup: 2006–07
FA Community Shield: 2009
UEFA Champions League: 2011–12
UEFA Europa League: 2012–13
Turkish Cup: 2019–20
Africa Cup of Nations: 2013; third place: 2006, 2010, 2019
Summer Olympics bronze medalist: 2016
FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Ball: 2005
CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year: 2005
Chelsea Young Player of the Year: 2007, 2008
CAF Team of the Year: 2005, 2013
Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament: 2013
African Footballer of the Year runner-up: 2013