Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel has revealed that former Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, left him out of his squad because he opted to play for Dream Team VI at the 2016 Olympics.
The midfielder was called up by coach Samson Siasia for the country’s campaign at Rio de Janeiro and he led the team to a bronze medal.
Following his return from the competition, Mikel was frozen out of Conte’s squad, which made him seek a greener pasture in the Chinese Super League with Tianjin Teda.
“For me, it was a decision I had to take when the opportunity came up to either go to Rio or play for Chelsea,” Mikel told the NFF media.
“I decided that Victor Moses, who was the younger and hasn’t played yet for the club, should stay back, while I go to the Olympics.
“Victor stayed back and I went, but when I got back the manager never spoke to me again and did not even put me in the team, so I had to leave the club.
“For me, my commitment to play for the national team will never change until I stop playing.”
After a fair campaign with Middlesbrough in the second half of the 2018-19 season, Mikel has switched his attention to the Nation Cup (AFCON), which begins in Egypt on June 21.
The Super Eagles are in Group B of the showpiece and will start her campaign for a fourth AFCON title against Burundi at the Alexandria Stadium, on June 22.
This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago