Former Chelsea player who barely wore the captain’s band for Chelsea, hailed as a special captain

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Chelsea hero John Mikel Obi was part of a generation of Chelsea players with so many leaders in the dressing room, which was part of the reason for the team’s continued success.

Mikel was the captain of the Nigerian national team, and he had teammates who were also captains over the years, like Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Michael Essien etc.

Mikel barely wore the captain’s armband during his time at Chelsea, but he had been hailed by a former Nigerian teammate, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, for being a special captain.

Photo: Getty Images

“He doesn’t know whether you are home-based or foreign-based, he tries to bring everybody together in camp,” Ezenwa told Goal.

“He is not the type that talks too much, he knew what was at stake, and he tried to carry everybody together. He made me realise that you can achieve whatever you want if you are determined and you believe in yourself.

“He is a special person, and he made everybody realise that one day in football, you can get to his level and the only way to do that is all about self-confidence.

“I found time to go to his room when we were in camp, so he opens up to me, and the way he talks and advises is just one of the things I’ve pocketed.”

“After the Algeria defeat when we returned to our base, he tried to encourage one or two players. He is a calm person who knows what to do at the right time, and he speaks on behalf of everybody,” he added.

“Nigerians like Mikel, though it is not everybody that will like him in this world. I think he has a large fan base in Nigeria that appreciates him for what he’s done for the country.

“I will never forget when I picked up an injury before the Africa Cup of Nations, he showed concern during that period, he checked up on me almost every time.

“It’s not everybody who has time for something that, but the whole team did their best. Mikel showed so much concern. I think he has this special feeling for people.”

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Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.