Former Chelsea player, John Mikel Obi has been topping X sports trends following revelations shared on his newly launched podcast. In a conversation with former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on the “Vibe with Five” podcast, Mikel Obi disclosed that his departure from Chelsea was influenced by then-manager Antonio Conte.
Mikel Obi explained in the interview, “Antonio Conte was the reason why I left Chelsea. He told me if I went to the Olympics with Nigeria, I’d never play again. When I returned, he never spoke to me again. He sent me to train with the Reserves, then I started training alone for a while. There was a period when the team played really, really badly. Conte called me to his office and asked me to play again. I said, ‘No, thank you very much. I have already made up my mind I wanted to go anyway.’”
The 36-year-old also touched upon the departure of managers at Chelsea, mentioning Rafael Benitez and Andre Villa Boas. According to Mikel Obi, Benitez was not well-received by the players as he wasn’t considered a “Chelsea kind of manager.” Regarding Villa Boas, he discussed a rift arising from decisions affecting players like Frank Lampard.
“One person we really didn’t like was Benitez, because he wasn’t a Chelsea kind of manager, and AVB, who was younger than most of the players, younger than Lampard and JT, and for some reason, he stopped playing Frank, and Frank didn’t take that well, so there was a little bit of a rift.”
Mikel Obi highlighted how players conveyed their dissatisfaction by withdrawing communication with the manager. He described a cycle where the atmosphere became strained, and eventually, owner Roman Abramovich intervened after hearing players’ concerns.
It’s worth noting that during Mikel Obi’s time at Chelsea, he won every trophy available to him except the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup.