Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has confirmed that he had left the club after a decade.
The Nigerian international made the announcement via his Twitter page early on Friday morning, wherein he has has also changed his bio to reflect the fact that he has now officially joined Chinese Super League side Tianjin TEDA, joining former teammates Oscar, Demba Ba and Ramires in the affluent league.
A letter to my Chelsea family. 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/FhcUyq3iaV
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) January 6, 2017
In the above statement, Mikel reflects on his ten years at Chelsea, from his transfer at the age of 19 to a period yielding countless trophies. He pays special attention to the famous Champions League victory in Munich, as he started in the side that scored a late qualiser against Bayern and went on to win the trophy on penalties.
He thanks Chelsea teammates, staff, managers, fans and Roman Abramovich for what they have done for him during his time in London, while also outlining the reasons for his departure to join Tianjin:
“As you will know, I haven’t featured as much this season as I would have liked, and at 29 I still have many years in the game ahead of me.
“With this in mind, I feel now is the time to seek a new challenge. I’m delighted to be joining Tianjin TEDA FC in China, at a time that the Chinese Super League is really taking off, and I look forward to helping Tianjin TEDA FC continue to grow both on and off the pitch in the next few years.”
The Nigerian national team Twitter account have also confirmed the transfer, and have even included a picture of Mikel holdng his new team’s shirt:
— Nigeria Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) January 6, 2017
The 29-year-old has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the midtable CSL side, believed to be worth in the region of £140,000 per week.
Chelsea are yet to officially comment on the matter, though they are expected to do so in due course.