John Obi Mikel Biography

Sat 03 April 2021 | 8:30

Winner of the CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year in 2005, he is considered to be one of the best footballers in the history of Nigerian football. In this article, we will take a look at John Obi Mikel biography.

John Obi Mikel, born 22 April 1987, in Jos, is a Nigerian football player who plays as a midfielder for Stoke City in the EFL Championship in


. In 2006, Obi was bought from Norwegian team FC Lyn in Oslo by Manchester United for £4 million, but he changed his mind, claiming that he was forced to sign the contract without the presence of his agent and that he would rather play for Chelsea.

Chelsea offered

Manchester United

£12 million, at which point the team dropped its claims and Obi went to


.  The original £4 million was also paid to FC Lyn. At Chelsea, Mikel mostly played as a defensive midfielder in the club's 4-2-3-1 system. On 21 September 2013, Mikel scored his first and only league goal for Chelsea.

On 6 January 2017, it was announced that John Obi Mikel has signed for the Chinese club Tianjin Teda. He played 31 league matches there, scoring three goals. He then went on to play for the clubs Middlesbrough F.C. (2019) and Trabzonspor of Turkey (2019-2020).

His contract was terminated on 17 March 2020 after he spoke out a few days earlier against continuing to play football in Turkey during the corona pandemic. On August 17, 2020, he signed a contract with the English club Stoke City as a free agent.

Mikel debuted in the Nigeria football team on 17 August 2005, against Libya. A year later, he was part of Nigeria's squad for the 2006 African Championship, his first final tournament. He led his team to a 2-0 victory in the second match against Zimbabwe as a substitute.

All You Need to Know About John Obi Mikel Biography

Mikel went on to play for Nigeria at the 2008 African Championship, the 2010 African Championship, the 2013 African Championship, the 2014 World Cup, the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 African Championship. At the 2013 African Championship won, he played all the matches from start to finish.

John Obi Mikel Information

Now that we know the Nigerian midfielder much better, in this section of

John Obi Mikel biography

we will share more general information about him such as

John Obi Mikel nationality

to let you know him even better.

John Obi Mikel Bio

  • Full Name: John Michael Nchekwube Obinna

  • Nickname: Obi

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

John Obi Mikel Physical Stats

  • Weight: 86 Kg

  • Height: 1.88 m

  • Eye Color: Black

  • Hair Color: Black

John Obi Mikel Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 13

  • Professional Debut: 2004

John Obi Mikel Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 22 April 1987

  • Birth Place: Jos, Nigeria

  • Zodiac Sign: Taurus

  • Nationality: Nigerian

Now stay tuned to this section of

John Obi Mikel biography

as we want to share some info about

John Obi Mikel childhood


John Obi Mikel Early Life

John Obi Mikel was born in Jos, Nigeria, as Michael Nchekwube Obinna, the son of Michael Obi, who owns an interstate transport company in Jos. Since his father is of the Igbo ethnic group, "Nchekwube" means "hope" and "Obi" is short for "Obinna" (meaning "Heart of his father").

Aged twelve, he started his official football club career after he was selected among more than three thousand youth players to play at the Pepsi Football Academy. The team was known at the time for scouting young players and future stars all over Nigeria to aid their eventual entry into professional football. At the time, Obi was able to catch the eye of the scouts.

He got the chance to play for top division club Plateau United which was also known for producing stars like Celestin Babayaro, Christian Obodo and many more who went on to play for European clubs and represent Nigeria. He later made headlines, known as John Obi Mikel, after his performance at the World Youth Cup held in Finland. He later ended up on loan at South African club Ajax Cape Town before moving to Norwegian side Leung.

The Nigerian Football Federation mistakenly declared the player's name for the tournament in Finland as "Mikel" during preparations for the 2003 Youth World Cup. However, he chose to keep the new name, saying it was a special sign for him.

Mikel played for Nigeria at the World Youth Cup in the Netherlands in the summer of 2005. That tournament was spectacular for him before Nigeria reached the final, in which they lost 2-1 to Argentina. Obi won the Silver Ball after he was crowned the second best player of the tournament.

John Obi Mikel Profile

For the 2004/05 season, the young Mikel joined the Norwegian side FK Lyn. He made his debut for Lyin on 24 April 2005 in the league match against IK Start, where he played the whole 90 minutes. Next match against Molde FK, John Obi Mikel gave his first assist to his teammate Öyvind Leonhardsen and also scored his first goal for FK Lyn.

In the match against Rosenborg BK, he also gave another assist. That season, Mikel played a total of 6 matches for his club in Tippeligaen, scoring 1 goal and giving two assists.

A few days after Mikel's 18th birthday, Manchester United announced on 29 April 2005 that they had come to an agreement with the Oslo-based Norwegian club to buy the young player. On the club's website, it was also stated that a direct deal had been done with the youngster and a contract was signed by Mikel to join them.

The agents of Mikel were left out in the cold as the club successfully convinced the youngster to sign a four-year deal without any representation. Meanwhile, Lyn Oslo apparently sent a fax to Mikel's agents overseas, saying that their services were no longer desired by Mikel. According to reports, the agreement was originally worth £4 million, with the player expected to arrive at Old Trafford in January 2006.

Later, speaking to Sky Sports News Mikel stated that he was forced to sign the contract with United, in the absence of his manager being present, which was strongly denied by Manchester United and Lyn Oslo. He told the UK media that Chelsea was the club he actually wished to sign for.

Following these events, Man United submitted an official complaint to FIFA concerning the actions of Chelsea as well as the player's agents, John Shittu and Rune Hauge. These claims were rejected by FIFA in August 2005 asserting that the evidence was not enough to file a lawsuit against Chelsea.

An agreement was signed between Man United, Chelsea and Lyn Oslo on 2 June 2006 to arrange the player's transfer. To enable Mikel to join Chelsea, United cancelled their deal with Mikel. By the terms of this agreement, Chelsea reportedly settled to pay Manchester United 12 million Euros, of which half was to be paid at the end of the contract and the other half in June 2007, while Lyn Oslo agreed to receive 4 million Euros.

All claims in this respect were dropped from the settlement. A work permit for the midfielder was granted to Chelsea on 19 July 2006 after the signing was completed for 16 million euros in June 2006. Now stay tuned to this section of

John Obi Mikel biography

as we want to share some info about his Chelsea career.


John Obi Mikel played his first match in his new shirt on 13 August in the 1-2 Community Shield loss to Liverpool, coming on for Paulo Ferreira in the 82nd minute of play. His first goal for the Blues came on 6 January 2007 in a 6-1 FA Cup third-round win over Macclesfield Town. He scored again in the next round against Nottingham Forest (3-0).

During his first season with Chelsea, John played a total of 42 matches, scoring 2 goals and assisting 4 times. Both of those goals were scored in FA Cup matches. The next 2007/08 season, Mikel was less productive for Chelsea, while he failed to score or provide any assists in the 39 matches he played that season.

Mikel started the 2008/09 season on 17 August in the English Premier League opener against Portsmouth, where he played the whole 90 minutes in the 4-0 home win. On 21 September in the home match against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, John Obi Mikel put on a great show, providing the assist to Chelsea’s equalizer for Salomon Kalou in 79th minute.

On 10 May 2009, Mikel gave another assist, this time in the match Against


to Nicolas Anelka. Chelsea managed to win that match 1-4 in the Emirates Stadium. That season the Nigerian defensive midfielder played a total of 49 matches for Chelsea, with 34 matches in EPL, where he managed to give two assists.

In the 2009/10 season, Mikel played 35 games for Chelsea, giving two assists. Of these matches, 4 were in the Champions League. On 24 March 2010, Mikel gave an assist in the 0-5 away win versus Portsmouth. He also gave another assist in the FA Cup Fifth Round against Cardiff.

He started every match in 2010-2011 and enjoyed a very good season, notably thanks to his excellent partnership with Michael Essien and Frank Lampard. In the first two matches of the English Premier League that season, John Obi Mikel gave two consecutive assists against

West Bromwich Albion

and Wigan Athletic. He played a total of 37 matches that season, providing two assists to his teammates.

After a complicated first half of the 2011-2012 season, his career took another step forward when Roberto Di Matteo became Chelsea's coach. He won his fourth FA Cup at the beginning of May and on 19 May 2012, after a match in which Mikel gave a lot in midfield, Chelsea finally won their first Champions League.

The 2012-2013 season started as the previous one for him and his club (losing the trophies won the previous season). Mikel continued to be indispensable in midfield, however, and in the absence of the injured Frank Lampard, he and Ramires formed a very good midfield partnership. He played a total of 38 matches for Chelsea that season, failing to score or give any assists.

His first Premier League goal came on 21 September 2013 in a 2-0 win over Fulham, returning to scoring after almost seven years. He also gave an assist that season in the away match against

Stoke City

, where they lost the match 3-2.

On 5 January 2014, he scored in the

FA Cup

Third Round against Derby County. In a total of 36 matches played in all competitions that season, Mikel scored 2 goals and provided one assist.

He netted his first goal in the Champions League on 10 December 2014, in the 3-1 home win against Sporting Lisbon. During that season at Chelsea, Mikel played a total of 26 matches for the London Blues, scoring one goal and providing one assist.

He started the 2015/16 season on the third matchday of Premier League against West Bromwich Albion. On 12 August, he gave an assist to Nemanja Matic, however, this wasn’t enough to help Chelsea avoid defeat against Everton.

On 16 February 2016, Mikel scored a goal against Paris Saint-Germain on last 16 1st leg of the Champions League. That season, the tireless Nigerian played 33 times for Chelsea, scoring one goal and providing one assist.

He ended his ten-year spell with Chelsea with 372 appearances and six goals in league and cups. With Chelsea, he won two

Premier Leagues

(2009-10, 2014-15), four FA Cups (2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2011-12), two Football League Cups (2006-07, 2014-15), a Community Shield (2009), a UEFA Champions League (2011-12) and a UEFA Europa League (2012-13).

Tianjin TEDA

He was recruited by the Chinese side Tianjin Teda on 6 January 2017. He made his Chinese Super League debut the following 4 March, in the 0-2 defeat at the Shandong Taishan ground. He scored his first goal in his new shirt on 2 April, in the 2-0 win against Chongqing Liangjiang Athletic.

After that match, he was sidelined for about 4 months due to stomach complaints. He played again for the Chinese club on 14 August 2017 in the 2-0 loss against Hebei FC. He provided his first assist to Liyu Yang in his new jersey on 27 September in the match against Guizhou FC.

Mikel started the new season on 3 March 2018, in the Chinese Super League opener against Hebei FC. On 18 March, he gave two assists to the Ghanaian striker Frank Acheampong in the 3-2 win over Tianjin Tianhai. On 14 April, he scored his first goal of the season in the 2-1 home win versus Guangzhou City. He made 31 appearances and scored three goals in two years for the club.

Now stay tuned to this section of John Obi Mikel biography as we want to share some info about his




He made his return to English football on 24 January 2019, signing for Middlesbrough. He played his first match for the club on 2 February 2019 on the 30th matchday of the EFL Championship against West Bromwich Albion.

On the last matchday of the league, he scored a goal in the 1-2 away win against Rotherham United. That season, he played a total of 19 matches for Middlesbrough, scoring one goal.


He switched to the Turkish side


on 1 July 2019, with whom he played 27 games in all competitions. He played his first match for Trabzonspor on 8 August 2019 in the 3rd Round first leg of Europa League Qualifying against Sparta Prague.

He also played his first league match 10 days later against Kasimpasa, where he was on the pitch for 58 minutes. Mikel played 19 Super Lig, 3 Turkish Cup, 2 Europa League and 3 Europa League Qualifying matches for Trabzonspor.

On 17 March 2020, he terminated his contract with the Turkish team, following rumors that the Turkish federation had decided to continue the league (which was then suspended two days later) despite the COVID-19 crisis.

Stoke City

He signed for Stoke City on 17 August 2020 to continue his career after a short spell in Turkey. Mikel Debuted for Stoke City in the first match of the EFL Championship on 12 September 2020 in the goalless draw against Millwall FC.

Two weeks later, he gave his first and only assist of the season to Lee Gregory, which enabled the team to secure victory against Preston North End. So far this season, he has played a total of 33 matches for Stoke City.

Nigeria National Team

In 2003, Mikel participated in the Youth World Cup in


with the


under-17 team - he appeared in three matches and scored one goal (in a match against Australia), and Nigeria failed to qualify for the knockout stage.

Two years later, he participated in the Youth World Cup in the Netherlands - in this tournament he was a key player for the national team (he appeared in seven matches), which they finished second. He also scored a goal in a 3-0 group stage win against Switzerland.

John Obi Mikel made his senior national team debut for Nigeria on 17 August 2005 in a 1-0 win against Libya. He participated in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in which the Nigerians finished third and he scored a goal in the group stage match against


. Furthermore, he scored a goal in the penalty shootout of the quarter-final match against Tunisia.

He also took part in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 and 2010. In the tournament, which took place in Ghana (2008), he reached the quarter-finals with his team, while in the group stage match against Benin, won 2-0, he scored a goal. Two years later in


, the Nigerian national team finished third and Mikel scored a goal in the penalty shootout of the quarter-final match against Zambia.

An injury ruled him out of the World Cup in South Africa (2010). In 2013, he won the Africa Cup of Nations, beating the Burkina Faso national team 1-0 in the final. Now stay tuned to this section of John Obi Mikel biography as we want to share some info about his playing style.

Style of Play

Mikel is an outstanding player, with good ball control and dribbling skills despite his large size. He has a good shot and a very good precision in the passes which allows him to distribute very good balls and to create the play. Thanks to his great size, he is a very important element when it comes to defending.


Many football fans and pundits consider John Obi Mikel to be amongst the greatest defensive midfielders in the history of Nigerian football. Now stay tuned to this section of John Obi Mikel biography as we want to share some info to find out how he celebrated his goals.

Goal Celebration

The experienced Nigerian defensive midfielder has scored very few goals during his career, and because he does not use a signature goal celebration, we have seen him celebrate his goals differently each time he scores.

John Obi Mikel outside Football

In 2017, the footballer's name was mentioned as one of the richest Nigerian football players, having a reported net worth of more than $25 million and a weekly salary of about £140,000 at his new Chinese club Tianjin Teda.

The successful Nigerian footballer not only owns a large mansion in London, but he also owns property in some of the more established parts of the Nigerian provinces such as Jos, Abuja and Lagos. In fact, his house in Lekki and Jos has become the talk of the Nigerian web.

John Obi Mikel Personal Life

In this section of John Obi Mikel biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like

John Obi Mikel life story


John Obi Mikel religion

, stay tuned.

Family, Children and Relationships

He is the father of four children (two twins) with his Russian girlfriend Olga Diyachenka. The couple has been together since 2013 when he was a star player for Chelsea and they welcomed their first twins in 2015.

While revealing how she met Mikel, Olga shared on her Instagram page that Mikel was her parent's neighbor for five years and said their relationship started when she dropped off their keys at that flat. The two started out as just friends before they became lovers, she said.

On 12 August 2011, his father was kidnapped in Jos, Nigeria. 10 days later, he was freed unharmed and his kidnappers were taken into custody in Kano on 22 August.

At the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where he played as captain of the team, his father was kidnapped again four hours before the third group game against Argentina. Mikel was aware of the incident and played the full match without revealing it to anyone, including his team-mates (they lost the match 1-2 and were eliminated from the group). His father later suffered torture injuries but was released safely.


John Obi Mikel is one of the most famous Nigerian footballers when it comes to charitable works. In 2012, Mikel set up his own foundation to help homeless and poor people in his home country Nigeria.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he has also helped many people in Nigeria by making food donations to the poor. On his Instagram page, you can see some posts about how he gave eggs, noodle, beans and rice to the people in need.

Legal Issues

In April 2009, John Obi Mikel was taken into custody by London Police because of drunk driving. Later on a court, he was banned from driving for 15 months and the judge ordered him to pay a fine of 1580 pounds.

John Obi Mikel Career Statistics

In this section of John Obi Mikel biography, we will take a deeper look into his career stats, both as an international and club player.


Since the start of his professional football career in 2004 and as of 20 March 2021, John Obi Mikel has gone on to play a total of 486 matches during his career, in Norway, England, Turkey and China and score 11 goals. Without a doubt, the highlight of his career is the 10 seasons he spent at Chelsea, where he played 372 times and scored 6 goals.


On the international level, John Obi Mikel has played a total of 91 matches with the Super Eagles and scored 6 goals. During his international career, he was also a captain of the Nigeria national team.

John Obi Mikel Honors

Other than the Turkish Cup won with Trabzonspor, all of his club level titles were won with Chelsea, which include English Premier League, FA Cup, Football League Cup, FA Community Shield, UEFA

Champions League

and UEFA Europa League.

With the Super Eagles, he was the winner of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and finished third-placed on three occasions.

Of his most notable individual titles and awards we can include FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Ball, CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year, CAF Team of the Year and African Footballer of the Year runner-up among others.

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source: SportMob