John Obi Mikel was born on April 22, 1987, in Imo, Nigeria and is a footballer for Chelsea where he plays central midfield. John Obi Mikel was born as John Michael Chukwudulue Ikenna, and ‘Obi’ is merely a nickname for the Igbo name ‘Obinna’ which means ‘Father’s heart’. During the 20023 FIFA Under-17 World Championships, the commentators misspelled John Obi’s name as ‘Mikel’ instead of ‘Michael’. Later, John Obi Mikel decided the keep the ‘Mikel’ and hence his name today. At fifteen years of age, John Obi Mikel was playing football for Plateau United and by 2003, Mikel made headlines for Nigeria at the FIFA Under-17 World Championships held in Finland. In 2005, John Obi Mikel began to gain international recognition when he starred at the FIFA World Youth Championships when Nigeria won all the matches making it to the final.
There has been much controversy regarding John Obi Mikel and his transfer to England. After John Obi Mikel turned eighteen, Manchester United announced that it had plans to sign John Obi Mikel, and later stated that Mikel signed a contract with them. John Obi Mikel’s agents were bypassed as Manchester United persuaded him to sign a four year contract without representation. Later, Chelsea issued a counter-claim stating that they already had an agreement with John Obi Mikel, but Lyn Oslo denied this claim. During a press conference, John Obi Mikel announced that he was joining Manchester United. After signing the contract to join Manchester United, claims from Norway stated that John Obi Mikel received threatening phone calls from unknown sources, and he was immediately assigned a security and relocation to a safer hotel. On May 11th, 2005, John Obi Mikel went missing during a Norwegian Cup game. John Obi Mikel’s disappearance stirred massive media coverage in Norway and provoked a police inquiry after director Morgan Andersen made claims that Mikel had been kidnapped. Nine days after his disappearance, John Obi Mikel stated on Sky Sports News that he had been pressurized to sign the contract with Manchester United, which were rebuffed by Manchester United and Lyn Oslo. John Obi Mikel stated that he signed without his advisors being present, and if true, then Manchester United was in breach of FIFA and FA rules.
On June 2nd, 2006, Chelsea, Manchester United and Lyn Oslo reached a settlement over John Obi Mikel, in which Mikel was to be transferred from Lyn Oslo to Chelsea, and Manchester United decided to terminated their contract with Mikel. Chelsea agreed to pay Manchester United £12 million, and to Lyn Oslo and additional £4 million. On July 19, 2006, Chelsea received a work permit for John Obi Mikel after he was signed on for £16 million in June 2006. Mikel has insisted that his preference to be called Mikel John Obi instead of John Obi Mikel. On September 12, 2006, John Obi Mikel made his first appearance for Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League against Levski Sofia and scored a powerful goal. During that match, John Obi Mikel received much praise and positive comments for his performance. John Obi Mikel and his height plus great strength prove to be an excellent asset for good control of the ball, wide range passing, and ability to spread the play effectively. John Obi Mikel is starting to take on his full potential, which is what initially persuaded Chelsea to pay £16m for Mikel.