Nigerian football legend, John Mikel Obi retired from the national team today after playing for the nation for 15 years of his career, as the Super Eagles won the third place at this year’s African Cup of Nations.
To commemorate this bittersweet day, we have come up with 15 facts about Mikel Obi you should know both as a fan and a Nigerian. They are:
1. He revealed in 2006 that he prefers to be called Mikel John Obi instead of John Mikel Obi.
2. His name was not always spelt the way it is now. In 2003 during the preparation for the 2003 FIFA under-17 World Champions, the Nigerian Football Association submitted the new name by mistake. He used to spell his name as ‘Michael’ until the NFA submitted ‘Mikel’ and he opted to take the new spelling.
3. He first started playing for Nigeria in the 2003 FIFA under-17 World Champions at 16 years old.
4. Mikel Obi was first signed to Man United when he first turned 18 before the move was hijacked by Chelsea amidst controversies.
5. He joined Nigeria’s senior team in 2005.
6. Mikel was suspended by the Nigerian Football Federation in 2007 for missing some important matches.
7. He was the African Young Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
8. He was voted the Chelsea Young Player of the Year in 2007 and 2008.
9. Mikel signed a renewed contract with Chelsea for 5 years in 2009 after being with them for 3 years and playing amazing football.
10. In 2010, he received both the Premier League and FA Cup Gold medals with Chelsea.
11. Mikel was dropped by Chelsea for a month in his first season before he was recalled.
12. In 2011, Mikel’s father was abducted but he still played with his club. His father was released ten days later.
13. Mikel signed another deal with Chelsea for five years in 2012.
14. He got a bronze medal with the Nigerian team at the 2016 summer Olympics.
15. He became the captain of the Nigerian senior team, Super Eagles in 2016.
Mikel Obi who has grown so much from the young 16-year old that started playing for his country is now married and a proud father of two beautiful daughters. The whole country has come together to wish him success in his future endeavours.
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