The 31 year old Nigerian international has been a tremendous force in the middle for various teams he has represented over the years for teams like Middlesbrough and Chelsea, who sit 3rd on the EPL Table right now.
When only 12, John’s talent was recognised and he was scouted from a lot of 3000 children to represent the Pepsi Football Academy.
After a mesmerising display of his skills John managed to impress some of the scouts, leading to his arrival at Plateau United, a club well known for producing top quality players.
Mikel first shone during the 2003 U-17 World Cup held in Finland, where after he became a sensation in the Football Transfer News world.
After giving trials for various clubs Mikel finally signed for Oslo based club Lyn Football, in Norway. Mikel represented Nigeria at the 2005 Fifa youth championships where the team performed impeccably, but lost the final to Argentina (2-1).
He was awarded the silver ball for his outstanding performance. A few days after Mikel turned 18, he was linked to Manchester United and the move was almost set to happen when Chelsea intervened stating they had approached the player initially, eventually leading to everything getting jumbled up. What followed was a row of cases entangling 3 clubs and Fifa itself.
In the midst of all the chaos there was a flying rumour that John had been kidnapped, which later proved to be false as it was found that he had actually travelled to London along with his manager. Ultimately, United and Chelsea reached a settlement after which Mikel signed a contract with Chelsea in 2006.
Mikel made his first start for Chelsea during the 2006-07 UEFA Champions League match against Bulgarian club, Levski Sofia.
There after Mikel was seen to start quite a few games especially during the 2008-09 season when Michael Essien suffered an injury leading to a vacancy in defensive midfield.
Under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, Michael served as a regular with 32 appearances in total. He received two winners’ medals as Chelsea lifted both the FA Cup and Premier League during the 2010 season, for the first time.
Mikel continued to serve as a reckoning force in Chelsea’s midfield till the end of the 2016 season, after which his contract wasn’t renewed and he left for Chinese club Tianjin TEDA.
Mikel served as Nigeria’s captain during the 2018 Fifa World Cup, where his side got knocked out of the competition after losing to Argentina during the group stage.
After having played two seasons in China, Mikel signed a new short term contract with English side, Middlesbrough, in the January 2019 transfer window.