‘I Was the Zidane of the Nigeria National Team’ — Mikel Obi Compares His National Team Role to Zinedine Zidane

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‘I Was the Zidane of the Nigeria National Team’ — Mikel Obi Compares His National Team Role to Zinedine Zidane

In a recent episode of his podcast, “Obi One,” former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel engaged in a lively conversation with his former teammate, Eden Hazard. As they reminisced about their playing days and beyond, the discussion took an intriguing turn when the topic shifted to penalty-taking skills.

Mikel, known for his confidence and prowess on the field, made a bold comparison between himself and the legendary French footballer, Zinedine Zidane, particularly highlighting his role in the Nigeria national team. This comparison sparked curiosity and raised eyebrows, prompting further exploration into Mikel’s journey with the Super Eagles and the impact he has had on Nigerian football.

John Obi Mikel’s career with the Nigeria national team spans over a decade, marked by numerous achievements and memorable moments. From his debut in 2005 to his retirement following the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, Mikel played a pivotal role in shaping the identity of the Super Eagles on the international stage. His journey is one of resilience, leadership, and unwavering commitment, making him a revered figure among Nigerian football fans.

Mikel’s Impact on the Super Eagles

John Obi Mikel’s impact on the Nigeria national team cannot be overstated. With 91 caps to his name, Mikel served as a linchpin in the midfield, orchestrating play and providing stability in both defense and attack. His ability to read the game, distribute the ball, and dictate the tempo earned him praise from teammates, coaches, and pundits alike.

One of the defining moments of Mikel’s international career came in 2013 when he played a crucial role in Nigeria’s triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations. As a key member of the squad, Mikel showcased his leadership qualities and big-game temperament, guiding the Super Eagles to victory in the tournament. His performances earned him accolades and cemented his status as one of Nigeria’s all-time greats.

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Beyond his success at major tournaments, Mikel’s influence extended to the development of young talent within the Nigerian setup. As a veteran presence in the team, he took on a mentorship role, offering guidance and support to emerging players. Mikel’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of Nigerian footballers underscores his dedication to the growth of the sport in his homeland.

The Comparison to Zinedine Zidane

During the podcast conversation with Eden Hazard, John Obi Mikel made a bold comparison between himself and Zinedine Zidane in the context of penalty-taking prowess. While some may view this comparison skeptically, it speaks volumes about Mikel’s confidence in his abilities and his impact on the Nigeria national team.

Zinedine Zidane is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, known for his elegance, vision, and technical proficiency on the ball. Drawing parallels between Mikel and Zidane underscores the former Chelsea midfielder’s belief in his own skill set and his importance to the Super Eagles. Despite the obvious differences in playing style and background, Mikel’s comparison serves as a testament to his self-assurance and the legacy he has built with the Nigerian national team.

Mikel’s journey with the Super Eagles is a story of perseverance and determination. From humble beginnings to international stardom, he has overcome numerous challenges to leave an indelible mark on Nigerian football. As he transitions into the next phase of his career, Mikel’s legacy as a Super Eagles legend is secure, serving as an inspiration to future generations of Nigerian footballers.

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In conclusion, John Obi Mikel’s comparison to Zinedine Zidane may raise eyebrows, but it reflects his confidence and the impact he has had on Nigerian football. His journey with the Super Eagles is a testament to his talent, leadership, and unwavering commitment to the game. As he continues to make his mark on the sport, Mikel’s legacy will endure as a source of pride for Nigerian football fans everywhere.

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