At any given sphere of endeavor, there are two sets of people. There are those who make headlines, and there are those who don’t really make headlines, but put in just as much effort as the former. In football, this reality comes into play too. While those who give assists and score goals game in, game out dominate headlines, there still are other members of the team that put in much effort in the team, but unfortunately, don’t get to make headlines. John Obi Mikel belongs in the latter category.
The Nigerian international joined Chelsea from Lyn Oslo in Norway in 2006, and was fabulous throughout his stay at Chelsea. He may not have scored too many goals like Frank Lampard, but you certainly cannot overstate the kind of quality he brought to the table. Mikel was criticized by a lot of people for not going forward often, but it is only those that do not understand the way football technicalities work that hold that against the man. Every player has a role to play in a team, and Mikel had to play his. He isn’t an attacking midfielder; he’s a holding player, so it’s out of place to compare him to the likes of Lampard. If you look at the greatest holding players the game has seen, you’ll see they all have something in common— they don’t score often. Even our greatest ever Holding player, Claude Makelele didn’t score much in his long career, but when it came to doing his primary job, which is to protect the midfield and defence of his team, he was excellent at that— so was Mikel.
In his 10 years at Chelsea, john Obi Mikel was used by all the managers we had. That says a lot about the man’s importance to the team in his time. Conte is the only manager who didn’t use him, and from what we hear, it has nothing to do with his tactical abilities.
Mikel has won lots of accolades and trophies during his ten-year spell, including a Champions League medal, a Europa League, and more than one League Cup and FA Cup medals. He has also lifted the EPL title more than once. So as he leaves Chelsea, he leaves with his head held up high, knowing that he has achieved a lot. We shall miss him and his commitment to the Chelsea cause, and of course, we wish him the very best away from the Bridge. He is our star anytime, any day, and will always be remembered in the same thoughts as the likes Makelele and Lampard.
Good luck Mikel, you’ll always be one of us.