Former Premier League referee slams Chelsea hero as the worst player to ref

Photo: Reuters

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Former Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi got involved in a heated confrontation with ex Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg in 2012, during a league game against Manchester United.

In that game, Ramires had told Mikel that the referee called him a monkey, to which Mikel reacted angrily.

Mark Clattenburg has now named five most annoying players to officiate, and he included former Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi.

The retired English referee who officiated 576 football matches in his career, has looked back at the incident involving him and Mikel.

In a chat with Daily Mail via GiveMeSport, Clattenburg named his top five most annoying players as thus:

  1. Portugal defender Pepe
  2. Craig Bellamy
  3. Roy Keane
  4. Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann
  5. John Obi Mikel

Speaking on Mikel, he said: “He has never apologised and that is disappointing because it could have ruined my life. “I fell out of love with refereeing for a while after that but couldn’t quit because I had a family to support and no other career to pursue. “It all left a bad feeling that still lingers today.”

Mikel had also recounted his side of the story recently, and he still has his suspicion over Clattenburg.

Speaking to the Athletic, Mikel said that even though he didn’t hear the slur being said, he still trusts his teammate’s accusation.

“Did he say it or not? I didn’t know,” Mikel explained of his stance. “But if your colleague comes up to you, of course you’re going to trust what they say, someone you see and speak to every day.

“So I can’t apologize for something that my colleague said he [Clattenburg] did.”

For Chelsea fans, they’d also not forgive Clattenburg for his horrendous officiating in a game that Chelsea lost 3-2.

Clattenburg was in the heat of things as Chelsea were already aggrieved following his questionable decisions. He had sent off Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres (for an offence that should have seen the opponent sent off), and then a Javier Hernandez’s winner was allowed to stand, despite it being an offside goal.

With Ramires moving on to tell Mikel that the ref said “shut up you, monkey”, it all became too much for the former Blue.

Mikel added: “I lost it, I was so angry. We’d lost the game as well. There were a few decisions he’d given that cost us the game. Everything just boiled up. That was it. I wanted to confront him, find out if he did say that word. I wasn’t really allowed to speak to him, he didn’t want to.

“It was crazy in the tunnel. I don’t think anyone at the club had seen me like that before. I had lots of people trying to hold me back… the players, the club. Everyone came out. It was a case of, ‘Try and stop me’. I wanted to break down that door to the referee’s room and ask him questions. I was livid.”

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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.

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