Mikel Obi announces international retirement

Nigeria captain John Mikel Obi has announced his retirement from international football.

The 32-year-old former Chelsea midfielder made 89 appearances for Nigeria between 2005 and 2019. He scored six times for the Super Eagles.

“At the age of 32 it’s time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, (sic) who’ve done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019,” he wrote on social media on Thursday.

“Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country.

“The 2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for national team with Super Eagles.

“My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I’m grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible National and International career,” Mikel added.

“Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you’ve shown me over the past 15 years.”

Mikel, who has just signed for Trabzonspor in Turkey did not play any game for Nigeria in the qualifying series for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt which had initially suggested he had quit the national team.

Coach Gernot Rohr understandably pulled him back to the team as they prepared for AFCON 2019.

Mikel played for Nigeria in the past two World Cups and helped the Super Eagles win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

He was part of the team that finished third at the 2006 and 2010 Nations Cups.

At the U20 World Cup in 2005, he won the silver ball as the tournament’s second-best player behind Lionel Messi.

The former Chelsea player was also one of Nigeria’s three over-age players as the African side won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.