He may be your team’s go-to midfield solution but to those who really know him well, he is much more than that.
Swooping long balls for fun one minute, then winning duels and tackles with ease the next minute. Mikel John Obi transcended his position to become your favorite player’s favorite player.
Composure with both feet, ridiculous balance in tight spaces, 360 vision like he’s got wing mirrors, magnet-like ball control and elegant ball-carrying. His passes “will find you” and his tackles “will tame you”.
Mikel took on Nigeria’s midfield legacy – he was the poster boy for the new age. When the pressure of being labelled ‘the next Okocha’ was piling up, Mikel redefined the skillful and showboating Okocha’s role with long passes and elegance that became the fuel for an AFCON charge.
The youngster who demanded Okocha’s number 10 departed as the player who embodied greatness in Nigerian football the most.
Planning to get past him? Forget it.
He’s already read your mind and knows how to win the ball without fuss. His intelligence was unmatched.
From the UCL final night in Munich, shredding Yaya Toure on the way to AFCON glory to leading the Naija boys to Olympic bronze via longevity, productivity, and grace.
The Oxford Dictionary should redefine ‘elegance’ as ‘Mikel’ but then they would have to redefine ‘intelligence’ as ‘Mikel’ too.
Mikel just made it all look so easy.
Above all, Mikel had a heart, from joining Chelsea so that the life of three of his Nigerian brothers can change, playing for Nigeria while his father was in the kidnappers den, sponsoring the Olympics team when they were stranded to his Back2Base project. Obi Wan is just a perfect gentleman.