After 10-and-a-half stay at Chelsea, long-serving midfielder John Obi Mikel is no longer a Chelsea player, as he has completed a move to Tianjin TEDA, in faraway China.
Signed by Jose Mourinho back in 2006, Mikel went on from being an understudy to Claude Makelele to actually replacing the French legend. The fact that Mikel made over 40 appearances in his first season at Chelsea, despite the presence of Makelele clearly shows how good he was at his position.
He played a pivotal role in Jose Mourinho’s first stint at the club, and was also a key player for Carlo Ancelotti. Our Champions League victory in 2012 will never be complete without mentioning his name, and he was also instrumental in the Europa League trophy the following year.
He was never one to grab the headlines, but one who kept things neat and steady in midfield, prompting Frank Lampard to say this about him in January 2014: “”It’s very good playing alongside Obi, a top holding midfield player. He’s one of those players that will not make headlines, but he’s happy to go unrecognised in his work and he has a huge worth for the team when he plays.”
One of Mikel’s outstanding qualities is his ability not to lose the ball no matter the pressure on him, and this prompted Jose Mourinho to say this about the Nigerian in April 2007: “He is a genius in his position. It is a miracle if he loses the ball.”
In all, Mikel made 372 appearances for the club, and won 10 major honours — making him the 17th most featured player in the club’s history.