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Nigeria international John Mikel Obi has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35 with a host of colleagues and professional friends sending fitting tributes to the Nigerian legend.

Mikel had started his professional football career with Nigerian Premier League side Plateau United way back 2004 before he was poached by a Norwegian club. He had a quick- cutting teeth in 2003 with the Nigerian U-17 Golden Eaglet under coach Austin Eguavoen at the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Finland.

The former Chelsea midfielder at his teenage age was outstanding at the U-20 FIFA World Cup after graduating from the U-17. At the 2005 World Cup he went on to win the Silver Ball behind Lionel Messi, with Nigeria runners up to Argentina at the competition.

In what could be described ‘The Battle for Mikel’ Chelsea and Manchester United had crunch involvement in off the field battle to sign the Nigerian rising teenager, but would later sign for Chelsea where he spent over a decade with the Blues poaching him in 2006.

In 2012 he was in the involvement run to the UEFA Champions League title, having had an iconic goal in Paris. He equally has in his shelves medals of two Premier League titles and one Europa Championship won with Chelsea.

The Nigerian legend in 2013 won the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) under late coach Stephen Keshi, in 2018, he went to captain the Nigeria Super Eagles and was previously the captain of the Olympic team.

In looking back to his 20 years of football artistry where he has played with some of the world’s great including Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and John Terry. The defensive -minded player obviously is happy that all good things must come to an end at a time the ovation of accomplishment on the field has attained upright. His quest to continue good works is already- tilting philanthropic , having started a Back2Base project for aspiring young talents in sports.

The news of his retirement was confirmed on his Istagram social media page, which reads: There is a saying that “all good things must come to an end”, and for my professional football career, that day is today.

‘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.

All of this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my family, managers, clubs, coaches, teammates and most importantly my ever-loyal fans. You supported me through my highs and lows, even on days that I did not live up to your expectations. I say a big thank you.

‘I will also like to encourage everyone who I may have inspired one way or the other in the course of my career 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.’

The Jos breed who star for the West London club, also had playing stints with the likes AFC Bournaemouth, Stoke City, Chinese Super League side Tiajin Teda and most recently Kuwait SC.

Meanwhile, his fellow Chelsea icon John Terry has sent tribute messages to the ex- Nigeria football star,

‘What a great career my friend, it was a pleasure to play and share the dressing room with you. Love you Georgie Boy.

While GaryjCahill wrote ‘Congratulations on an amazing career mate, pleasure to play alongside you. Enjoy your retirement, Also Etebo Oghenekaro wrote: Goodluck skippa.’

Mikel Obi recently launched a Mikel Back2Base Project for aspiring young sports talent, which he gave out cash gifts to outstanding young football, basketball and long tennis talents during its maiden edition in Lagos. 

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