Nigeria international John Mikel Obi has received glowing tribute from his former club Chelsea as he ended his decade-long spell with the Blues on Friday.
In a long statement on their official website, Chelsea thanked Mikel for his meritorious service all through his stay at Stamford Bridge and wished him more successes as he begins another chapter in his career.
Mikel has joined Chinese side Tianjin TEDA who are set to make the Super Eagles captain one of the best paid African footballers.
Chelsea in an official statement wrote: “We pay tribute to a Chelsea great who today left the club he joined in the summer of 2006.
“He leaves with the respect and appreciation of those who managed him, played alongside him and watched him during his decade-long stay at Stamford Bridge. He leaves with our very best wishes and we thank him for his exceptional service.”
The 29-year-old is one of a select band of five foreign players in Chelsea’s history to have reached the 300-game landmark alongside Chelsea greats Petr Cech, Didier Drogba, Branislav Ivanovic and Gianfranco Zola.
His finest moment came in 2012 in Munich, when his incredible discipline in midfield protected the defence and helped the Blues to claim their first Champions League triumph.
Silverware was a regular theme of the Nigerian’s stay in west London. Mikel was Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year in his debut 2006/07 season, having arrived from Norwegian side Lyn Oslo.
He ended that campaign with two winners’ medals: the League Cup and FA Cup. He lifted the latter trophy four times in Chelsea’s colours.
In total, Mikel made 372 appearances for the club – the 17th-highest figure of anyone in the club’s history – and won 10 major honours. He found the back of the net six times during his 10 years spell at the Bridge.
A video documentary highlighting Mikel’s illustrious career at Chelsea was also shared by the London club across their social media platforms and that has been generating comments across the world.