John Mikel Obi admits it has ‘truly been an honour’ to play for Chelsea as the Nigerian midfielder penned an open farewell to fans after bringing his 10-year stay at the club to an end.
The 29-year-old departed the club on Thursday after sealing a move to Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin TEDA. A picture was shared on Chinese website Webo of Mikel shaking hands with a Tianjin club official and holding the club’s shirt as he became the latest Premier League player to move to the far east. The news first broke on Thursday, with the midfielder offered a package worth around £140,000 per week for three years. In an open letter shared on his Twitter account, Mikel shared memories of his greatest achievements in 10-trophy-laden years at Stamford Bridge. •Former Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi has become the latest star to move to China. He wrote: ‘To play in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is every professional player’s ambition. But to play for Chelsea, to become part of the Chelsea family, to work with some of the best managers and players in the world, has truly been an honour. ‘Every achievement I have been part of in my time at Chelsea holds a special memory: my first goal, against Macclesfield in 2007 (even though there were only five more after that!). ‘The nail-biting end of the 2010 season – securing the title on the last day, scoring a record 103 goals in the process, and winning the FA Cup a week later. Didier’s extra time winner against Manchester United in the 2007 FA Cup Final. ‘Beating two of our biggest London rivals in League Cup finals. Winning the Europa League in Amsterdam, with one of the last kicks of the game.’ The Nigeria captain reserved special praise though for Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012. ‘Then there was Munich. We were desperate to make up for the disappointment of the 2008 final, but trailing with two minutes to go, against Bayern, in their own stadium, it seemed that once more luck was against us. ‘But that night, with lions on our chest and the fans behind us, we fought. Up popped Didier, the rest is history, and to date we’re still proudly the only team in London with a European Cup.’ He paid tribute to the club’s fans saying: ‘My biggest thanks must go to the Blues fans. You brought me into the Chelsea family, you sung my name, and were there with us every step of the way. Thanks to your support, on nights like in Munich, you made the impossible possible.’