John Mikel Obi: Celebrating Black Excellence In Football

by Duke Magazine

Exuding avid passion for national and club duty is a great semblance for who John Mikel Obi is as a midfielder with quality and style. His well-targeted long range passes are one of skills the football skipper hones.

Born in 1987, John Mikel Obi is a Nigerian professional footballer, currently playing for the English Football League (EFL) Championship side, Stoke City as a defensive midfielder. With eleven (11) years of stay at Chelsea FC in England, Obi Mikel had 249 appearances in the Blues shirt, at where he spent most of his footballing career.

Starting his football play time with Plateau United in 2002, he went on to join the Norwegian side, Lyn in 2004 at age 17. Having had a fantastic outing for Nigeria at 2005 FIFA World Youth Championships held in the Netherlands and emerging as the second-best player of the tournament after Argentine’s Lionel Messi, Obi Mikel became the cynosure of many top clubs, like Chelsea and Manchester United lobbying to have the young talent sign for them. But, with his flair for the Blues, he made a preferred transfer to Stamford Bridge over Old Trafford for a signing fee of £16 million.

Doing brilliantly under José Mourhino’s led team, Obi Mikel was impactful in major games with his powerful tackles and ball wins. In 2013, Obi Mikel scored his first-ever Premier League goal in a 2 nil win against Fulham. 

Having had a good stay with some conjectures at Stamford Bridge, he went on to join Chinese side, Tianjin TEDA on a free transfer in 2017. After spending just a season with the club, Obi Mikel returned to England to join Middlesborough on a short-term deal in 2019, but had a switch to Turkey to join Tranzonspor for a two-year contract. Due to the management of the novel coronavirus in Turkey and concerns raised, he breached his contract with the Turkish Super Lig team. However, Mikel Obi made another return to the English side, Stoke City on a contract deal.

As a football star, the 34-year-old midfielder has been on different stages of football, both local and international, doing what he knows how to do best. Also, he is a decorated medalist for his country and club. Notable of his wins are: Bronze medals for African Cup of Nations (2006, 2010, and 2019), African Cup of Nations winner (2013), English Premier League winner with Chelsea (2009/10 and 2014/15), UEFA Champions League winner with Chelsea (2011/12), UEFA Europa League winner with Chelsea (2012/13), and other notable honors.

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