Former Chelsea flying full back Celestine Babayaro has saluted captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria John Obi Mikel as he turns 30 today.
In an exclusive chat with Owngoalnigeria.com, Babayaro who spent seven years at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea before leaving for Newcastle United said Mikel ten and half year stay at Chelsea might not be eclipsed by any Nigerian player anytime soon.
Mikel left Chelsea in January after surviving 23 transfer windows and seven different coaches in ten and half year at the club he joined after a protracted transfer from Lyn Oslo in 2006, which involved Manchester United claiming to have signed him.
Now at Tianjin Teda in China, and earning rare reviews it’s his long stay at Chelsea, that Babayaro was quick to praise considering how well he survived the numerous managerial changes at the club.
” I remember when he came to Chelsea, I was about leaving as the club were ushering in a new era. But from the little I saw of him in training and off the pitch, if someone had told me he will last ten and half years at Chelsea I wouldn’t have doubted it”, Babayaro told Owngoalnigeria.com.
” He is not the outgoing type, hardly keeps late night, cool, calm and a very good listener. Simply put he is a well brought up kid, kudos to his parents. Upcoming footballers have a lot to learn from his humble nature.
” The many managerial changes and transfer window Mikel survived at Chelsea is crazy when you look at how many players came and left. I honestly don’t think any Nigerian player will last that long at a single club in the nearest future with all due respect.”