John Obi Mikel: The Runaway Damage-Dealer
John Obi Mikel was one of Trabzonspor’s dedicated players who has been very special since the season began. The 32-year-old defensive midfielder has spent less than a full season with the club, but he has definitely made a big impact on Trabzonspor’s title run this year.
Mikel has played for five different clubs since he began his senior career back in 2004. He is famously known for his stint with Chelsea since 2006. He became one of the club’s cornerstones as he spent 11 seasons with them, showing up on a total of 249 matches before moving on.
Mikel doesn’t have a big tally of goals. However, the Nigerian international has proven his former teams that he belongs with them thanks to his defensive prowess. He is known for his incredible talent and skill in working with wing defenders and specialises on cutting off transition offences.
He began his football career at the age of 12. He was carefully selected as one of the young players to play in the Pepsi Football Academy. The team was known for traversing across Nigeria in search of young football players who have the potential at that time.
Mikel stood out and impressed the scouts - which led him to be sent off to Plateau United - a top-flight club that has developed big talents such as Celestine Babayaro, Victor Obinna, and Chris Obodo among others, who became big names in European leagues.
Just a few days after he turned 18, he went on to join Chelsea after a stressful deal that involved his former team and Manchester United. It was known then that Mikel has impressed Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho when he first trained with the first-team in the summer of 2004.
Mikel made his first start for Chelsea in their Champions League win against Levski Sofia. He was praised for his performance in the game. After dealing with some personal issues, he went on to score his first goal in their 6-1 win in their FA Cup showdown against Macclesfield Town.
After his long stint with Chelsea, he would then wind up as a member of Trabzonspor this season. He has shown his worth by keeping a defensive mindset for the team before his subsequent exit a few weeks ago.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores