Nigerian star Mikel Obi has retired from professional football after a sparkling career spanning over twenty years.
“There is a saying that “all good things must come to an end”, and for my professional football career, that day is today,” the 35-year-old former Chelsea star said on Tuesday.
“I look back at the past 20 years of my career, and I must say that I am very satisfied with all that I was able to achieve and more importantly the human it has helped shape.”
For the former Super Eagles skipper, his career won’t have come this far without support from coaches, family members, fans, and teammates, among others.
“You supported me through my highs and lows, even on days that I did not live up to your expectations,” Mikel added. “I say a big thank you.”
As for those who may have been inspired by his footballing exploits, the former Lyn Oslo star urged them “to never give up on their dreams, for every time you think about quitting, remind yourself why you started.
“This is not goodbye, it’s the start of another journey, another chapter of my life. I look forward to what the future holds and I hope you will walk with me. Thank you.”
Mikel has played for Al Kuwait SC but his contract was terminated by the club in November last year for undisclosed reasons. He had one year left on his contract.
The Nigerian broke into stardom following a sterling performance for the West Africans at the 2005 World Youth Championship where the country lost to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentine team. The Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star clinched the tournament’s Golden Ball while the former Chelsea player won the silver boot.
Mikel was the subject of a three-way transfer saga involving Manchester United, Chelsea, and Norwegian side Lyn Oslo. He eventually signed for the London club where he won several laurels including two league titles, three FA Cups, one Champions League, a League Cup, Community Shield, and a Europa League trophy.
He was also a one-time winner of the Turkish Cup and on the international scene, where he scored six times, had an illustrious career. Apart from winning the 2013 AFCON, Mikel had 91 caps for Nigeria and had a bronze medal for the country at the 2016 Olympics. At the 2006, 2010, and 2019 editions of the AFCON, Mikel also helped Nigeria claim bronze.