John Mikel Obi, a former captain of the Super Eagles, retired from football as Nigeria’s most successful player of all time. He is currently making waves post-retirement with candid interviews from some of the biggest names in football – past and present – on his football podcast – The Obi One Podcast.
Victor Osimhen has already featured on the podcast with Mikel, leading to further speculation about the Napoli man switching to the Premier League.
🇳🇬 John Obi Mikel during interview with Osimhen: “Next season, I know you're gonna come to Chelsea man!”.
“I'm telling you, I'm gonna be the agent to broker that deal”.
“I'm gonna make sure that happens. We are crying out for someone like you — since Drogba left the club”. pic.twitter.com/rlqKpRBDTG
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 13, 2023
From Mikel's breakout year at the FIFA U-20 World Cup where he went toe to toe with Lionel Messi and ended up with the silver ball for the second-best player of the tournament, to his achievement at the 2013 AFCON tournament with a special Super Eagles team, Mikel has made fans of the Nigeria national football team very proud.
This article details his biography, lifestyle, net worth and other interesting things fans want to know about the Chelsea legend.
John Mikel Obi profile
John Mikel Obi was born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna on 22 April 1987 in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria to Michael and Irosu Obi. From age 12, Mikel went from local school competitions and street football to attending the Pepsi Football Academy after being picked from among 3,000 youths that were scouted.
That opened up his path to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) where he played with Plateau United. At Plateau United, the handlers of the youth sides of the Nigeria national football team noticed him.
He had a brief spell in South Africa with Ajax Cape Town and it was during this period that he got rechristened to Mikel, thanks to commentator and match officials making an error in the spelling of his name. He has ridden with it since then, making it official in 2016.
John Mikel Obi club career
While he was at Plateau United – after his time in South Africa – and playing senior football in the NPFL, Norwegian side Lyn 1896, the same club that gave Odion Ighalo his first opportunity in Europe, signed him. That was when the U-20 Nigeria national football team contacted him for the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, referred to as the World Youth Championship then. After his brilliant showing with Nigeria, Mikel attracted interest from the biggest clubs in Europe.
A famous battle between Chelsea and Manchester United occurred for his signature in 2006. United, under Sir Alex Ferguson, had agreed a deal for Mikel’s signature with Lyn and the then-teenage midfielder had already taken official pictures with Manchester United in preparation for his announcement, only for Chelsea to use backdoor means to hijack the deal.
The Blues had to pay United some money for Mikel, however, allowing him to switch clubs and sign for them in 2006.
Haha this is a fun listen. Mikel Obi on that whole Man United -Chelsea saga. Interesting story!! pic.twitter.com/n0CFQgmhGn
— Fentuo Tahiru Fentuo (@Fentuo_) February 16, 2023
Mikel went on to enjoy a successful 12-year career at Chelsea, playing alongside football greats like John Terry, Frank Lampard, Africa Cup of Nations legend Didier Drogba, Cesc Fabregas, who announced his retirement on 1 July 2023 after the 2022/23 season, and a host of others. He moved to Tianjin TEDA, a club in China, for one year in January 2017 and returned to England in 2019 on a short-term deal to play for EFL Championship club Middlesbrough.
Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor was his next destination but Mikel left them by mutual consent after only one year because he was not satisfied that the league continued while the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the planet.
He returned to England with Stoke City for one year and then moved to Kuwait for another year before officially retiring from football in September 2022.
John Obi Mikel has more PL titles (2) than PL goals (1). 😅
◉ 3x FA Cup
◉ 2x Premier League
◉ 1x AFCON
◉ 1x UCL
◉ 1x UEL
— Squawka (@Squawka) September 27, 2022
John Mikel Obi national team career
In 2005, the same year he made a big splash in the U-20 tournament, he made his Super Eagles debut. It was in a friendly against Libya. He did not play for Nigeria again until 2006 when he was a surprise inclusion in the 2006 AFCON tournament squad. He scored and assisted in the tournament.
In 2007, Mikel had disciplinary issues leading to his suspension from all Nigeria national football team squads (he was still U-20 at the time and eligible for the U-20 and U-23 sides as well).
It was a one-year suspension and after tendering an official apology, he was recalled in 2008 for another AFCON tournament. He also scored one goal and provided an assist for another in that tournament.
Mikel continued to refuse to play for the Nigeria U-23 team for reasons best known to him and so was exempted from being chosen for the side. He continued to maintain the trust of the senior team, however, who included him in all the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Injury prevented him from making the final squad, however.
Mikel went on to star in several other tournaments and qualifiers for Nigeria, including the 2013 AFCON, which is Nigeria’s third AFCON title and most recent one to date (at the time of writing).
He also participated in the 2016 Olympics with the U-23 side as one of the three overage players allowed by the Olympic Committee. He footed most of the team’s bills as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was ill-equipped to do so.
His presence was a motivation to the side, who went on to bag the bronze medal for football at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Mikel ended his Super Eagles career after the 2019 AFCON, in which Nigeria came third. He played 91 times and scored six goals for the team.
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) October 27, 2016
John Mikel Obi net worth: Earnings, house, cars
John Mikel Obi earnings
Being a retired footballer, John Mikel Obi does not earn a salary from football anymore. However, he was one of Nigeria’s highest-earning players when he was active.
At Chelsea, back in 2008, Mikel earned as much as £80,000 a week and one contract renewal saw him bumped up to £120,000 a week. At the Chinese club Tianjin TEDA, he earned around £140,000 a week with appearance bonuses which took his monthly pay to around £600,000 a month.
Before he terminated his contract with Kuwait SC and retired from the sport, he was signed on as the highest-paid player in the country’s football league history with an over $4 million per annum contract that was for two years. He earned around $800,000 before terminating his contract, however.
Mikel is estimated to be worth $45 million as he has thrown his football fortune into assets and businesses to maintain the lifestyle he has built for himself in 19 years as a football professional. He is one of the richest African footballers in the world and the richest Nigerian footballer.
John Mikel Obi cars
These are some of the cars that have been spotted in John Mikel Obi’s garages;
- $75,000 2012 Mercedes Benz E-Class which is priced at
- $60,895 Range Rover Sport
- $180,000 2010 Bentley Continental GT
- $120,000 Rolls Royce
- A Mercedes-Benz G500.
All of these cars were gotten during his playing career. He has since added a few more to his collection and this article will be updated as soon as there is more information on them.
Mikel also has a private jet which he uses for his business trips across the world and to visit Nigeria to spend time with his family.
John Mikel Obi house
John Mikel Obi has a house in London that he bought during his time at Chelsea. That is his family home and where he raises his children. See pictures below.
The building cost $6 million dollars and comes with a lot of modern facilities inckuding a cinema, spa, and a football area.
Mikel also has houses in Jos, Enugu and Lagos Nigeria but their locations are secret because of bad experiences the player’s family suffered in the past.
John Mikel Obi is not just a footballer… He is into real estate too. having houses in some of the most developed parts of Nigeria like Abuja, Lagos, and Jos. Don't just be a footballer… Be like John Obi Mikel 🤞🏽 pic.twitter.com/MzlvA4WBEC
— Realtor.ng (@Realtor_NG) July 18, 2019
John Mikel Obi personal life: John Mikel Obi wife, kids, father, kidnapping saga
John Mikel Obi wife, kids
John Mikel Obi is married to Olga Dyachenko, a London-based Russian billionaire’s daughter. Olga is one of the most followed Wags (Wives and Girlfriends) in Nigerian football.
Olga Dyachenko is a model and businesswoman who graduated from Regen Business School with B.A Honours. She also obtained a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurial Management from Regen University. She has also modelled for many top companies in Russia and has other businesses that she manages.
— Gidiplus Connect (@gidiplus_ng) November 21, 2018
The story goes that Mikel met Olga when he was playing for Chelsea following his break up with former Delta Beauty Queen, Sandra Okagbue. Olga said that Mikel lived in the same apartment complex with her parents and that they did not speak to each other for five years beyond the usual neighbourly greetings. However, a time came when she needed to drop her keys off with someone and Mikel was available. They hit it off at once.
They tried to keep their relationship secret even after their marriage in 2015 but it later became public knowledge after they posted pictures of their twin girls Mia and Ava on social media.
John Mikel Obi family and kidnapping saga
John Mikel Obi has two other siblings, Ebele and Patrick. Ebele played football and Patrick is a musician. Mikel is from a middle-class household.
In 2011, they faced the biggest trial of their lives as a family when their father, Michael Obi was kidnapped. The police rescued him in Kano State and apprehended his kidnappers. In 2018 again, just before Nigeria’s game against Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he got the information that his father was once again kidnapped.
The Nigeria Police Force intervened once again, claiming that they had a shootout with the kidnappers to rescue his father. Mikel has since minimised his association with Nigeria on the basis of these incidents but continues to visit discretely when needed.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago