Mikel Obi Reveals Conte Snub For Choosing Nigeria Over Chelsea
By Max Wise
John Obi Mikel has revealed that former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte ostracized him from the team after he opted to represent Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympic games.
Mikel was one of three overaged players in the Nigeria side that won bronze in Brazil but that achievement came at a cost for the Super Eagles captain as he failed to reclaim his place in the Chelsea team.
Conte led Chelsea to the Premier League title that season but Mikel Obi was not part of the side as he departed Stamford Bridge for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda in January 2017.
“For me, it was a decision I had to take because when the opportunity came up to either go to Rio or play for Chelsea,” Mikel told the NFF media.
“I decided that Victor Moses, who was the younger and hasn’t played yet for the club, should stay back while I go to the Olympics.
“Victor stayed back and I went but when I got back the manager never spoke to me again and did not even put me in the team, so I had to leave the club.
“For me, my commitment to play for the national team will never change until I stop playing.”
Mikel Obi spent more than a decade at Chelsea after controversially joining from Norwegian club Lyn Oslo as a 19-year-old in the summer of 2006.
The Nigerian won two Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Europa League with the Blues.
Mikel recently left China for championship side Middlesbrough on a short term deal and will be leading Nigeria at the upcoming African Cup of Nations in Egypt.