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Mikel: Why I retired from National team

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Former Super Eagles Captain John Obi Mikel has underscored two major reasons he decided to retire from international football shortly after the last Nations Cup in Egypt.

The Trabzonspor midfielder, who led the Eagles to third place finish in Egypt, said the first reason was to pave way for younger players and the need to soft pedal since he no longer has many years of football ahead of him after close to two decades romance with the round leather game.

Mikel who revealed recently that it would be fun however to be part of Chelsea coaching crew, expressed confidence in the present crop of Eagles, noting that  the players are not only talented but determined to excel.

The former Chelsea and Tianjin Teda midfielder bared his mind in a chat with Trabzonspor’s official magazine.

”We currently have very talented young players. They’re all bright. I think these players can handle the challenges. I had to make room for them, besides; I don’t have many years for football in front of me. I want to focus on my team in the remaining period, “he said.

In what could pass for a stock taking, the former Middlesbrough ace hailed the achievements the team was able to make in his 13 years reign in the national team.

”I served the national team for 13 years, most of them as captain. In this period, we achieved significant successes as a team,” he enthused

The 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist played in five Nations Cup and two World cups. At the club level he won Champions league, Europa league, two premier league titles and three FA Cups with Chelsea where he spent over a decade.

An emotional Mikel it will be recalled dished out a thank you message to his country men and women for their support despite the team’s early exit from the last world cup in Russia.

“We fought until the end and we are all hurting with you. Your support has driven us throughout the World Cup and we cannot thank you enough “he had said after the team lost 2-1 in last group match against Argentina.

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