Former Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi says picking Chelsea over Manchester United in a highly controversial transfer in 2006 was the “best decision” of his career. The midfielder, who retired last week at the age of 35, was the subject of a bitter dispute between the Red Devils and the Blues in 2005, before signing for the latter the following year.
His decision to move to London, having initially signed for the Manchester side from Norwegian club Lyn Oslo, ultimately proved rewarding. Mikel became one of the club’s most decorated players, winning the Champions League, Europa League, two Premier Leagues, two League Cups and four FA Cups in an 11-year spell which ended when he left Stamford Bridge in 2017.
“I don’t regret any decision I made because I enjoyed everything I achieved at Chelsea – it’s the best decision I have ever made in my life,” Mikel told BBC Sport Africa. “I signed a pre-contract for Manchester United when I was 17. If you are a kid and you see Sir Alex Ferguson right in front of you with the contract, of course you will be tempted.”
Having made plenty of previous running, Chelsea were shocked when he signed for their rivals. His agent John Shittu immediately travelled to Oslo to take the player to London, while Lyn swiftly declared him missing.