Former Chelsea and Super Eagles midfielder, Mikel Obi, has said that despite the belief held by many Nigerians that Jose Mourinho killed his offensive nous, he continues to hold his former boss in very high regard.
“I don’t agree with them,” Mikel replies to people who believe he will have had a greater career as a No.10. “They were probably upset because they saw me as a creator of the Nigeria team,” Mikel told The Athletic.
Mikel finished as the Golden Ball runner-up to Lionel Messi at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup and played out his career in the Super Eagles as a deep-lying playmaker though he won so many titles as the deepest midfielder in his 11-year career at Chelsea.
“Obviously Mourinho was the one who changed things but I wouldn’t say he ruined my career or whatever! I still played as a No 10 for the national side. Mourinho is a manager I will always look up to,” Mikel revealed.
The Stoke City midfielder also spoke with adoration about former defensive lynchpin, Claude Makelele, whom he said helped him settle into the position he made his own under eight different Chelsea managers.
“I did quickly grow to understand that. I spoke to Makelele during my first season. He knew I was going to one day take over the (defensive midfield) role from him. He told me, ‘Listen, you’re not going to get accolades playing in this position. You just have to do the dirty work, make sure the team wins and then all the glory goes to the strikers! Always.
“When I first came to the club. I thought I was still going to play my role as a No. 10 or maybe a No. 8. I wasn’t really looking at Makelele, it wasn’t my position. But after Mourinho told me what he wanted, that’s how the chats with Claude started and he took me under his wing. He showed me how to master that position.”
In 11 years at Stamford Bridge, Mikel won two EPL titles, one UEFA Champions League; one Europa League, four FA Cups, and two League Cups.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...