Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel retires from international football

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SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 26: John Obi Mikel of Nigeria attends the post match press conference following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Argentina at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Patrick Smith - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
22nd June 2019, Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt, African Cup of Nations international football tournament, Nigeria versus Burundi; John Obi Mikel of Nigeria tries to block the cross from Saido Berahino of Burundi (photo by Ulrik Pedersen/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel on Thursday announced his retirement from international football hours after the Super Eagles beat Tunisia 1-0 in their 3rd/4th place playoff match at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo, Egypt.

“Egypt is a country where I’ve started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country. 2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for the national team with Super Eagles,” Mikel’s Instagram post read.

Mikel, who notably played for English Premier League side Chelsea for 11 years, thanked the Nigerian fans and the country for supporting him during his international career.

“At the age of 32, it’s time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, who’ve done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019,” Mikel wrote.

Mikel, 32, made his senior debut in 2005 against Libya and played over 80 times for Nigeria scoring six goals.

He is Nigeria’s third most-capped player behind joint leaders Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama.

Mikel featured at two World Cups and four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. In 2013, he was part of Nigeria’s winning team at the Cup of Nations in South Africa. Mikel also won a bronze medal as part of the Nigerian team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor signed Mikel in July on a two-year deal with the option of an additional 12 months after  he left Championship side Middlesbrough in May as a free agent.

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