John Obi Mikel accuses Antonio Conte: “He thinks I don’t care about the team”
Chelsea’s now second longest serving player after John Terry is probably on his way to leaving the club in the nearest transfer window in January. Mikel John Obi, who won the bronze medal with the Nigerian national team in the Rio Olympics, has conceded he might leave the Blues in search of first team football.
Mikel, who captained the Nigerian national team to a 3-1 victory against Algeria on Saturday in the World Cup qualifier match, spoke about his plans to leave the club, where he has served for over 10 years, as he admits he is dissatisfied with the lack of playing time.
It was recently suggested by some sources that manager Antonio Conte was disappointed with Mikel’s decision to play for his country in the Olympics, as he missed the whole pre-season with the Blues. But the Nigerian captain says he stands by his decision and does not regret anything.
Talking to the Sun, the 29 year old said:
“Yes, maybe people will say the new manager was upset I left and went to the Olympics, that I didn’t have a pre-season with the team.
“He (Conte) probably thinks I don’t care about the team, things like that. But I don’t want to use those excuses.”
“I have to keep training hard and make sure I change the manager’s mind. If not, then we’ll see what happens in January. But, no, I would never swap my Olympic medal for a place back in the Chelsea team.
“One thing you have to do in life as a man is that when you make a decision, or a sacrifice, you have to deal with it. I have not one single regret in going to the Olympics. And I will not trade my medal for anything,” he further added.
Mikel does not seem too impressed by the lack of playing time, but he assures everyone that recent rumors that the Chelsea Football Club are punishing him for participating in the Rio Olympics are untrue.
“I’d like to clarify that the recent media claims I’ve been punished by Chelsea for participating at the Rio 2016 Olympics are completely inaccurate,” he said.
It was more of a case of Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr being misquoted by the media according to the midfielder. But if Mikel does leave Chelsea in January, it will be an end to a big ten and a half year career, which has seen him collect numerous trophies and medals, including the Premier League and the Champions League.