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Mikel: How Conte Disrespected Me At Chelsea

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Former Super Eagles star John Obi Mikel has revealed how he was disrespected by former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte before leaving for the Chinese Super League.

Mikel player across a variety of managers including Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti, and was an ever-present member of the squad.

During the club’s most successful era in their history, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa, Mikel featured within the defensive midfield position because of the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, and Michael Essien ventured further forward.

But everything came to halt after Conte arrived in 2016.

With the Rio Olympics going ahead, Mikel had been called up to the U-23 Eagles squad headed by Samson Siasia.

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But the competition coincided with the beginning of the Premier League season and therefore the new Italian manager told the then-29-year-old that he wouldn’t play under him if he left.

However, the Chelsea hierarchy gave Mikel their blessing to go away – but Conte stuck to his word and he never played for the Blues again, leaving for Tianjin Teda in January.

Recalling what transpired between him and Conte Mikel told the Athletic : “This guy (Conte) who has just walked within the door for five minutes is telling me I had to settle on.

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“He was saying, ‘If you are doing that, you won’t be a neighborhood of this team’.

“I spoke to the club and told them that I wanted to travel.

“The club respected me due to what I had finished them and the way long I’d been there.

“So off I went and that I felt punished for that. I came back and that I didn’t make the squad. I used to be never within the squad list on match days again.”

Tianjin TEDA was his destination after the Chelsea board scrapped his contract out of respect for his a few years but Mikel and Conte would clash another time before he left.

He added: “The funny thing is, just before the January window was getting to start, he came up to me and said ‘I need a meeting with you’.

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“This was after making me train on my very own for months, treating a player who had been at Chelsea for an extended time like this!

“When he tried to satisfy with me he was like, ‘Let’s attempt to structure, I will be able to need you within the team, let’s squash this, blah, blah, blah!’.

“I was like, ‘Are you joking?! Are you f****** serious?!’ He knew I wanted out.

“I stood up and walked out of the space. You can’t disrespect a person’s being like that.”

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