Chelsea veteran Mikel John Obi has not played for Chelsea all season and Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr appeared to suggest on Friday that it was because he had left Conte’s pre-season camp to play in the Olympics for Nigeria, back in August.
According to Standard Sport, in a statement today, Mikel said: “I’d like to clarify that the recent media claims I’ve been punished by Chelsea FC for participating at the Rio 2016 Olympics are completely inaccurate.
“Unfortunately comments made by Gernot Rohr before yesterday’s 3-1 win over Algeria were both mistranslated and taken out of context by the Nigerian media, as English isn’t Mr Rohr’s or much of the Nigerian media’s first language.
“To be absolutely clear, Mr Conte and Chelsea were always fully supportive of my captaincy of the Nigerian team at Rio.
“The manager gave me his full blessing to participate at the Olympics, and even encouraged me to bring back the gold medal – something I spoke to the media about at the time.
“It goes without saying there is nothing but absolute respect between myself, the Nigerian national team and Chelsea FC, something that was demonstrated by Mr Rohr’s recent visit to Cobham.
“My only focus now is on winning more silverware with Chelsea and getting Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup, two challenges I can’t wait to face in the coming months.”
Currently, French club Olympique Marseille are interested in luring the Nigerian intentional who has spent almost his entire career at Stamford Bridge to the French league.