MIKEL Obi has admitted that his Olympic adventure with Nigeria could ruin his first-team chances at Chelsea.
The midfielder is in Brazil with the Olympic Eagles ahead of the Rio 2016 Games.
He could miss Chelsea’s first two matches of the season if Nigeria reach the gold medal match on August 20.
He could also tumble behind £30m new boy N’Golo Kante in Antonio Conte’s plans.
But he says playing for his country in Brazil was too big an opportunity to resist.
“It is difficult to leave Chelsea at this time,” he told the Evening Standard.
“But I explained to the club why I wanted to go and I thank them for their understanding and allowing me to be a part of this.
“The coach also gave me his blessing. He told me to make sure I do well and bring back the gold
“Obviously, it is hard to be away because I want to impress the new coach.
“I had one week of pre-season training and you need more than that if you want to prove yourself to a new manager who wants to change everything around.
“It is a risk that I have taken but I am willing to stand by that. I hope after the Olympics I can go back and prove myself.
“I know what the coach wants, I know what’s at stake.
“As soon as the Olympics is done, I will go back knowing I can do something [for Chelsea].”
Obi is Chelsea’s second-longest current serving player, behind skipper John Terry.
He’s been at Stamford Bridge since a 2006 switch from Lyn.