Mikel Obi, an African Icon and football legend has just retired from professional football, and we take a look at why the former Chelsea midfielder is Nigeria’s greatest midfielder.

John Mikel Obi retired from professional football this week after 20 years in the game. The former Chelsea midfielder last played for Kuwait SC in 2021, and has now called time on his illustrious career that puts him at the top of the list of the greatest Nigerian midfielders ever.

Nigeria have always been blessed with top midfield talents, from Jay Jay Okocha, to Sunday Oliseh to Mutiu Adepoju, however, none of those names mentioned above can match Mikel’s achievement in football.

Mikel started his career at Plateau United back in 2002. His performances for his local club earned him a transfer to Swiss club Lyn at the age of 17. After his performances at the 2005 Under-20 World Cup, Mikel’s career took off with a controversial, yet sensational move to Chelsea, and that was where he enjoyed so much success that he became one of the best Nigerian players ever.

Club Level Achievements

With Chelsea, he simply won it all. A dependable steward at the base of midfield. Whether he was starting or coming on from the bench Mikel was always committed. A calm presence in the dressing room, and also very efficient on the pitch. The Nigerian went on to make over 350 appearances for Chelsea winning the Premier League twice, the FA Cup three times. Mikel also won the Champions League with a commanding and calm performance against Bayern Munich for 120 Minute in Germany, and the Europa League with Chelsea before leaving in 2017.

National Team.

From his young age, Mikel always showed maturity on and off the pitch. He never looked back after he made his debut in 2005 against Libya. Mikel won over 95 caps for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and he was also captain of the side before he retired. Mikel was a true leader for Nigeria, as he battled many administrative issues with the Nigerian FA with his colleagues. With the national team, Mikel won the 2013 AFCON tournament, alongside 3 third-place finish in the competition.

He also helped the Nigerian Olympic team win Bronze at the 2016 games in Brazil.

John Mikel Obi played at the World Cup twice, he won the man of the match award in his first FIFA World Cup match against Iran. Mikel had a distinguished club and national team career and there is no doubt that he is Nigeria’s greatest midfielder.