|Name:||John Obi Mikel|
|Birth Day:||April 22, 1987|
|Birth Place:||Jos, Nigeria|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
On 29 April 2005, a few days after Mikel turned 18, Premier League club Manchester United announced that it had struck a deal with Lyn to sign the player. United's website also claimed that they had done a deal directly with the teenager and that he had signed a contract to join them. Mikel's agents were bypassed as the club persuaded the youngster to sign a four-year contract without representation. Lyn allegedly sent a fax to his agents abroad, claiming their services were no longer required by Mikel. Reports said the deal was initially worth £4 million, and would see the player arrive at Old Trafford in January 2006.
Mikel expressed his delight at joining United in a hastily arranged press conference, where he was pictured holding up a Manchester United shirt bearing the squad number 21. Following his signing of the contract to join United, there were claims from Norway that he had received a number of threatening phone calls from unknown sources. Mikel was assigned a security guard and moved to a safe hotel. On 11 May 2005, however, the midfielder went missing during a Norwegian Cup game against Klemetsrud; he had not been selected for the match but had been watching from the stands. Whilst the player was believed to have left with one of his agents, John Shittu, who had by now flown in to meet Mikel, his disappearance sparked massive media coverage in Norway and also provoked a police enquiry after Lyn Director Morgan Andersen made claims in the Norwegian media that Mikel had been "kidnapped". These claims were later repeated by Manchester United's assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, who accused Chelsea of being involved in the alleged "kidnapping".
It subsequently emerged that Mikel had travelled to London with his agent John Shittu, who was working for Jerome Anderson's SEM group. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson considered travelling to Oslo to visit Mikel, but decided against this after Mikel was reported to have left the country. Staying in a London hotel and some nine days after disappearing, Mikel stated on Sky Sports News that he had been pressured into signing the contract with United without his agent present, claims furiously rebuffed by both Manchester United and Lyn. Mikel told the British media that Chelsea were the club he genuinely wanted to sign for. In response to these events, United made an official complaint to FIFA about the behaviour of both Chelsea and the player's agents, Shittu and Rune Hauge, already infamous for his role in the George Graham bungs scandal. FIFA dismissed these claims in August 2005, stating there was insufficient evidence to bring a case against Chelsea.
Following the tournament, Mikel failed to return to Lyn, whereupon the club subsequently lodged a complaint with FIFA. On 12 August 2005, FIFA ruled that Mikel should return to Lyn to fulfill the remainder of his contract with the club, whilst they would decide at a later date whether the contract he signed with United should be upheld or cancelled. After a delay of over a month, Mikel complied with the FIFA decision and returned to Lyn in early September 2005 after a three-month absence.
He made his debut for the Nigeria senior team on 17 August 2005, when he came on as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 friendly win over Libya. He did not play for the national team again prior to being named in the squad for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations. In Nigeria's first group game, against Ghana, Mikel was an unused substitute. However, he was introduced into the second game against Zimbabwe early in the second half. Within ten minutes of coming on, he had supplied both the corner that resulted in Christian Obodo heading the game's opening goal, and scored Nigeria's second goal. He made his first international start in Nigeria's final group game, a 2–1 victory over Senegal.
During preparations for the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championships, the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) mistakenly submitted "Michael" as "Mikel" for the tournament in Finland. He decided to keep the new name, saying that it had a "special ring to it." On 31 July 2006, he stated that he prefers to be called Mikel John Obi instead of John Obi Mikel, as he had most commonly been called.
On 2 June 2006, Chelsea, Manchester United and Lyn reached a settlement to resolve the future of the player. Mikel's registration was to be transferred from Lyn to Chelsea; Manchester United agreed to terminate their option agreement with Mikel. Under the terms of this agreement, Chelsea agreed to pay United £12 million, half paid upon the finalization of the contract and the other half in June 2007, and Lyn £4 million, half payable immediately and half in June 2007. As a result of this settlement, all claims in this matter were withdrawn. On 19 July 2006, Chelsea were granted a work permit for the midfielder after they completed the £16 million signing in June 2006.
On 12 September 2006, Mikel made his first start for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League against Bulgarian club Levski Sofia and took a powerful shot which the goalkeeper failed to save and Didier Drogba pounced on the rebound. Mikel received many positive comments for his performance in the match. However, since being sent off in a match against Reading on 14 October 2006, Mikel was fined on three separate occasions by Chelsea for turning up late to training.
At the time, Chelsea manager José Mourinho was believed to have strong reservations about his lifestyle outside of Stamford Bridge, and the club were reportedly considering offloading the player. Mikel was dropped for over a month, during which his father Michael voiced his concerns over his son's behaviour. After improved punctuality and showings at training sessions, Mikel earned a recall for Chelsea's Champions League group stage away game against Werder Bremen on 23 November 2006. He scored his first goal for Chelsea in their 6–1 FA Cup victory over Macclesfield Town on 6 January 2007. He also scored against Nottingham Forest in the following round of the competition. During Chelsea's triumph in the League Cup final in 2007, Mikel was sent off in injury time (having come on as a substitute) after clashing with Kolo Touré. The incident was followed by a huge fracas, in which Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor of Arsenal were sent off, Cesc Fàbregas and Frank Lampard were booked and Mourinho and Arsène Wenger were involved in an altercation on the pitch.
Mikel was sent-off for the third time in his career in September 2007, when referee Mike Dean dismissed him for a tackle on Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Chelsea appealed against the red card, but the three-match suspension was upheld.
In 2007, Mikel was suspended from all Nigerian national teams after manager Berti Vogts dropped Mikel from the team's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger for failing to attend their previous match against Uganda. Mikel cited an injury, but because he did not attend an independent check by Nigerian officials, he was dropped. This, and his refusal to play for the Nigerian under-23 side, resulted in his suspension by the Nigeria Football Federation. After apologising, he was called up to the national squad for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana. At the tournament, he scored one goal and registered one assist in a match against Benin to help Nigeria qualify for the quarter-finals against hosts Ghana, where they lost 2–1 to their West African rivals.
Mikel had been called up for the under-23 side in preparation of the team's last Olympic qualifier on 26 March 2008, needing a win to qualify. His failure to show up for any of the qualifiers again setting off some controversy with the U23 team coach Samson Siasia, who dropped him from the Olympic squad amidst significant furor from the media.
The summer of 2008 saw veteran defensive midfielder Claude Makélélé transferred to French club Paris Saint-Germain, leaving the defensive midfield position vacant. Throughout the 2008–09 season, Mikel saw a great deal of playing time due to an injury to Michael Essien. During this period of increased action, Mikel performed admirably in the role. His ever-improving game was praised by Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, and his importance to the team was underlined when he provided the free kick that Salomon Kalou scored to equalise against Manchester United. He played so well in 2008–09 that he was nominated for the club player and young player of the season. On 24 January 2009, Mikel was charged with drunk driving, just hours before an FA Cup game against Ipswich Town – Mikel was not due to play in the game as he was serving a suspension. Although he had all that trouble on 22 July, Mikel signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea.
On 13 February 2010, Mikel provided a long ball for Didier Drogba to latch onto and fire past goalkeeper David Marshall as Chelsea beat Cardiff City 4–1 in the FA Cup fifth round. Mikel provided another assist for a Drogba goal in a 5–0 win over FA Cup finalists and relegated side Portsmouth on 24 March, as Chelsea cut United's lead at the top of the table to one point. Mikel played the full ninety minutes in Chelsea's 7–1 smashing of Aston Villa three days later as Chelsea kept pace in the title race with Manchester United. In their next Premier League game against United, Mikel played excellent as a marshall in midfield as Chelsea climbed above United in the table with a 2–1 win at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Joe Cole and Drogba.
Under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel continued to perform with efficiency in his defensive midfield role, notching 35 appearances for the Blues. In May 2010, he received Premier League and FA Cup winner's medals as part of Chelsea's first ever league-cup double winning team.
On 5 June 2010, Mikel was ruled out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa due to injury. He had been struggling to recover from a knee problem after undergoing surgery in May, though there were also reports that an ankle injury was to blame for Mikel's withdrawal.
On 12 August 2011, Mikel's father, Michael Obi, was the victim of a suspected kidnapping in Nigeria. Mikel was informed before Chelsea's match against Stoke City two days later but opted to play despite his concerns for his father's well-being. On 15 August 2011, Mikel made an impassioned plea for his father's safe return. He told Sky Sports News, "I've always tried to help the country, this is the time for the country to help me, whoever knows where my dad is should please contact me." Michael Obi was found alive on 22 August 2011, in the Nigerian city of Kano. His abductors were reported to be in police custody. On 26 June 2018, a few hours before a FIFA World Cup match, Mikel was informed of another kidnapping of Michael Obi, but did not tell any of his team members. The Enugu State Police stated that they rescued Michael Obi on 2 July after a gunfight.
Mikel played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea's 2–1 victory over Liverpool in the 2012 FA Cup Final on 5 May 2012, picking up a yellow card in the 36th minute. The 2011–12 Premier League campaign saw Mikel appear in 22 league fixtures, starting 15 of them, as well as playing in eight fixtures leading up to the team's appearance in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.
Mikel was charged with misconduct by the Football Association (FA) on 22 November 2012. He was given a three-match ban and fined £60,000 for threatening referee Mark Clattenburg during a 3–2 defeat to Manchester United.
On 5 December 2012, Mikel signed a contract extension with Chelsea, keeping him at the club until 2017.
On 21 September 2013, Mikel scored his first-ever Premier League goal in a 2–0 win against Fulham. He scored his second goal of the season in Chelsea's third round tie with Derby County on 5 January 2014, heading in the opening goal in an eventual 2–0 victory. He made his 200th Premier League appearance for Chelsea on 3 February, coming on as a late substitute in a 1–0 away victory at Manchester City.
At the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Mikel was a key player for Nigeria as they went on to win their third continental title. He was named by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in the team of the tournament alongside teammates Vincent Enyeama, Efe Ambrose, Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike.
On 30 August 2014, Mikel, who substituted Willian on the 75-minute mark, set up Diego Costa's second goal after intercepting up Muhamed Bešić's backheel pass. Chelsea went on to win 6–3 against Everton at Goodison Park. Mikel scored a rare goal against Sporting CP on 10 December in a 3–1 victory at Stamford Bridge in the 2014–15 Champions League.
Against Watford on Boxing Day 2015, in the first game of Guus Hiddink's second spell in charge, Mikel came on to become the 21st player to make 350 appearances for Chelsea. Chelsea then faced Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Mikel conceded a foul just outside the 18-yard box. PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimović's free kick deflected off Mikel, who was part of the wall, and past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Just a few minutes later, however, Mikel equalised from a stoppage time corner kick. Due to the injuries of John Terry and Gary Cahill, Mikel had to play as a centre-back in multiple games.
On 4 November 2016, it was announced that the club would not be renewing his contract when it expired at the end of the season.
He was selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics and was later named captain of the Olympics squad. On 13 August 2016, Mikel scored his first ever Olympic goal in a 2–0 win against Denmark to advance to the semi-final. After the 2–0 defeat to Germany, Nigeria went on to the bronze medal match against Honduras. On 20 August, Mikel helped Nigeria to the bronze medal in a 3–2 victory over Honduras. Nigeria became the first ever country to win all three medals at the Olympic Games with the 1996 squad winning the gold and 2008 squad winning the silver.
On 6 January 2017, Chinese club Tianjin TEDA signed Mikel on a free transfer. On 14 April 2018, he scored his second league goal for Tianjin, and first goal of the season against Guangzhou R&F. He left Tianjin TEDA at the end of the 2018 Chinese Super League season in November 2018.
In a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Algeria, Mikel scored a goal and assisted his Chelsea teammate Victor Moses in a 3–1 victory.
After two years in China, Mikel joined English Championship team Middlesbrough on a short-term deal in the 2019 winter transfer window. The 31-year-old was a free agent after leaving Chinese side Tianjin TEDA. Mikel made 19 appearances for Boro, scoring once against Rotherham United on 5 May 2019 as the team narrowly missed out on a play-off spot finishing seventh. He was released by Middlesbrough at the end of the 2018–19 season.
In July 2019, he said that the 2019 African Cup of Nations would be his last tournament for Nigeria. He retired at the end of the competition, in which Nigeria came third.
It was announced on 17 March 2020, that Mikel had left Trabzonspor by mutual consent, days after expressing his concerns about the Turkish Super Lig continuing amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Mikel signed a one-year contract with EFL Championship side Stoke City on 17 August 2020.
Currently, John Obi Mikel is 34 years, 5 months and 29 days old. John Obi Mikel will celebrate 35th birthday on a Friday 22nd of April 2022.
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