Mikel will not trade Olympic bronze medal for a place in Conte’s squad
Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has insisted he will not swap his Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal for a place in the Chelsea team.
Mikel has been snubbed since his return to Stamford Bridge from Rio where he led Nigeria to a third place finish.
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr on Friday claimed Mikel is being punished for representing his country at the Olympics, something he (Rohr) will not do to a player.
Mikel captained the Super Eagles to a 3-1 victory over Algeria in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on Saturday, where he scored one of the goals. On return to England he told The Sun he’s taking responsibility of his decision but would never swap his Olympic bronze medal for a place in Conte squad.
“I have never been a guy who makes excuses in life and never shy away from responsibilities,” he told The Sun.
“Yes, maybe people will say the new manager was upset I left and went to the Olympics, that I didn’t have a pre-season with the team.
“He probably thinks I don’t care about the team, things like that.
“But I don’t want to use those excuses. I have to keep training hard and make sure I change the manager’s mind. If not, then we’ll see what happens in January.
“But, no, I would never swap my Olympic medal for a place back in the Chelsea team.
“One thing you have to do in life as a man is that when you make a decision, or a sacrifice, you have to deal with it. You have to stand by your decision. You have to live with it.
“I have not one single regret in going to the Olympics. And I will not trade my medal for anything.
“It’s what I deserve. I worked hard for it, so why would I trade it for something else — a place in the Chelsea squad?”
Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006 following a controversial tug-of-war with Manchester United.
He has played under nine different Stamford Bridge bosses.
He has won the Champions League, Europa League, two Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Africa Nations Cup.
Mikel has played 368 times for Chelsea and claims his name will be etched in the club’s folklore.