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Chelsea star played under a false name for years



Chelsea star played under a false name for years

John Obi Mikel was considered an outstanding midfielder both at Chelsea and in the Nigerian national team. Many fans are familiar with the name of the 35-year-old, who won the Champions League with the Blues against FC Bayern in 2012. Curious about it: He played under a false name.

It all started with the U17 World Cup in 2003. The Nigeria squad also included Mikel, who was born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna. He became “Mikel” thanks to a registration error. A member of the association had given his name wrong – and that’s how it was printed on Mikel’s jersey.

Mikel told the story years later in radio format Beyond the game: “We had this tournament with the U17 national team. They spelled my name wrong. I saw it on the jersey and thought: ‘What is that? That’s not my name.'” But there was only 20 minutes left until the kick-off the error could no longer be corrected.

“I played pretty well,” Mikel laughed. “Before the next game, they asked me, ‘Should we change the name?’ But I told them to leave it that way.” So “Michael” became “Mikel”.

He decided to continue playing with “Mikel” on his back in the years that followed and even later officially changed his name to “John Obi Mikel”.

John Obi Mikel’s outstanding career: high point at Chelsea

Mikel has had an impressive career under his new name. The midfielder joined Norway’s FK Lyn from his Nigerian hometown club Plateau United as a teenager. He impressed there between 2004 and 2006. Several top clubs took notice of him, and there was a much-noticed transfer duel between Chelsea and Manchester United.

Mikel finally switched to the Blues for a fee of 20 million euros and played his way into the hearts of Chelsea fans for years. The Nigerian played for the Londoners for a total of eleven years, winning the Premier League and the premier class several times.

In the winter of 2017, Mikel’s time at Stamford Bridge came to an end. He got hired by TJ Teda in China. In 2019 he moved again to Middlesbrough FC on the island, but he was no longer able to build on his old performances.

Via Trabzonspor and Stoke City we then went to the last station, SC Kuwait. He has been without a club since last fall. His name sticks in the minds of Chelsea fans – even though it’s actually not the right one.