Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel celebrates after receiving the bronze medal during the medal ceremony after defeating Honduras in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s bronze medal football match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on August 20, 2016. / AFP / GUSTAVO ANDRADE (Photo credit should read GUSTAVO ANDRADE/AFP/Getty Images)
By Efosa Taiwo

Encomiums and gratitude have continued to pour in for former Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi after he announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.

Mikel announced on Tuesday via his Instagram account that he will be retiring from the game after 20 years.

“There is a saying that “all good things must come to an end”, and for my professional football career, that day is today,” Obi said in a statement.

“I look back at the past 20 years of my career, and I must say that I am very satisfied with all that I was able to achieve and more importantly the human it has helped shape.

“All of this would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my family, managers, clubs, coaches, teammates and most importantly my ever-loyal fans. You supported me through my highs and lows, even on days that I did not live up to your expectations. I say a big thank you.

“I will also like to encourage everyone who I may have inspired one way or the other in the course of my career to never give up on their dreams, for every time you think about quitting, remind yourself why you started.

“This is not goodbye, it’s the start of another journey, another chapter of my life. I look forward to what the future holds and I hope you will walk with me. Thank you.”

The 35-year old started his career in Jos with Plateau United, before joining a Norwegian club, Lyn Oslo, at the age of 17 in 2004.

He then moved to Chelsea after the 2005 U-20 World Cup, and enjoyed an 11-year stint at west London amassing a total of six goals and 13 assists in 372 appearances.

The former Super Eagles skipper won several laurels including two league titles, three FA Cups, one Champions League, a League Cup, Community Shield, and a Europa League trophy. He was also part of the Super Eagles squad that won the 2013 African Nations Cup.

Fans and ex-teammates have since taken to social media to laud the midfielder for what many described as a legendary career.

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