Midfielder revisits dilemma of choosing between Chelsea and Manchester United in Players Tribune

Mikel breaks down the little details involved his decision to snub Manchester United for Chelsea.

Mikel who is the captain of the Super Eagles was a subject of interesting to the whole world after Nigeria lost to Argentina in the final of the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup hosted in the Netherlands.

The midfielder went on to have a successful career at Chelsea but questionings are raised to if he would have been more successful if he went to Manchester United.

In an interview with , Mikel went into the details that defined his career as a professional footballer.

Mikel started out as a humble kid and like every Nigerian, he wanted to emulate Nwankwo Kanu who was the star player for national team following his exploits at Arsenal in England.

Brought up in a modest family Mikel revealed his rise to stardom began when he joined the youth team of Nigerian Professional Football League side (NPFL) Plateau United and from there, things fell into place as he was rewarded for his performances with a call-up to the national team.

He revealed that his dad would have preferred him to join Manchester United as he was a fan of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Mikel also talked about how his move to Chelsea was not just dependent on him as there were other factors that influenced his last-minute switch from Manchester United.

Now 31-year-old now, Mikel was a kid back then and he revealed that most people advised him to join Manchester United who has a track record for nurturing young talent while Chelsea at the time had superstars Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and Claude Makelele in the dressing room.

Mikel revealed that after the U-20 tournament he had agents, managers and some strangers handing him contracts presenting him with contracts while Sir Alex Ferguson and Roman Abramovich were patiently waiting for a decision which he made when a  FIFA agent called him to advise him.

According to Mikel, the agent said, “Listen, we know you’re young and you have these two clubs fighting over you. We can’t decide for you. You can only go where you want. You have to tell us.”

What sealed his move to Chelsea was an act of selflessness as the decision was to also accommodate some Nigerian players linked to Stamford Bridge.

13-years after his move to Chelsea where he won multiple trophies such as the Premier League, Champions League, and Europa League Mikel is the captain of the Super Eagles and hopes to one day pay .


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke