By Monsurah Olatunji
Mikel John Obi has revealed reasons behind his exit from the English Premier League side, Chelsea after spending over a decade at the Stamford Bridge.
The 35-year-old, who had an illustrious career both at club and international levels speaking on the latest episode of the Rio Feedinard’s “Vibe with Five” podcast has tagged Antonio Conte as the reason for leaving the Blues.
The midfielder joined Chelsea for £16 million and was one of the club’s highest-paid players during his 11-year stay there.
Obi left Chelsea in 2017 shortly after the Italian tactician took over as Chelsea manager.
“Conte was the reason why I left [Chelsea],” he said.
‘Once he came in, he was like, ‘You’re not playing anymore.’ Then I left. Obviously, when I saw Conte coming into the club, I was like, ‘My time here is done.’
“The only reason is when he came in, me and Victor Moses got invited to the [Nigerian] national team for the Olympics. So, I had a conversation with the club and he [Conte] said, ‘If you go, you’re not playing anymore for the club. Because I’m a new manager, we need to think about the club.’
“And I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve been invited to represent the country at the Olympics.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, but if you go just know that your time here is done.’
“So, I talked to Victor to stay back. I said, ‘I’ve been here a long time. I’ve won everything that I needed to win. You’re just coming, so you should stay.’ And he accepted. So, Victor stayed and I went. After the tournament when I came back, that was it.
“He [Conte] never spoke to me. He sent me to the reserve team. I was training with the reserves. Then I started training alone for a while. For like six months I did this.”