CHELSEA hero John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from football at just 35 years old.
Obi Mikel took to Instagram to state his decision to hang up his boots with a photo of his 18-year career's biggest highlights and a lengthy statement.
The legendary midfielder's message read: "There is a saying that “all good things must come to an end”, and for my professional football career, that day is today.
"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."
Obi Mikel's professional career kicked off in 2004 at Norwegian outfit Lyn.
Chelsea scouted him only two years later and brought him to their star-studded squad at Stamford Bridge.
The Nigerian great enjoyed tremendous success during his 11-year stint at west London as he amassed a total of six goals and 13 assists in 372 appearances.
The 35-year-old won two Premier League titles, three FA Cup trophies, the 2007 League Cup and the 2013 Europa League.
Mikel was also part of the Chelsea side that won the 2012 Champions League trophy.
However, the versatile midfielder enjoyed immense success on the international stage as well as he won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 with Nigeria.
Obi Mikel left Chelsea in 2017 for Chinese outfit Tianjin TEDA before his return to England for Middlesbrough only two years later.
He then moved to Turkey in 2019 where he won the Turkish Cup with Trabzonspor a year later.
Obi Mikel made one final comeback to England in 2020 for Stoke until his departure for Kuwait SC a year later.
The Chelsea hero had been a free agent since last November until his decision to roll credits on his career.
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