BBC African Footballer of the Year 2013: Profile - John Mikel Obi

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African Footballer award: John Mikel Obi profile

In a seven-year career at Chelsea, John Mikel Obi has played 187 games and won a host of trophies, including a Premier League title, Champions League title and four FA Cups.

Yet he might have been a Manchester United player, as the Old Trafford club thought they had signed the player from Norwegian club Lyn Oslo when he was aged 18. However, after a drawn-out and distasteful saga, Chelsea finally secure the teenager's services in June 2006.

Since then, Mikel has not looked back and has established himself as a regular for the Blues and for Nigeria, for whom he has gone on to play 51 times and helped them to win the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

A holding midfielder of outstanding defensive qualities and discipline, it took Mikel until September of this year to score his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in his 185th appearance for the club in a 2-0 win against Fulham.

Perhaps his finest performance came in the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich, where Mikel produced a master class in defensive midfield play to help his side achieve a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes against the dominant Germans. Chelsea went on to win the penalty shoot-out and lift the trophy.

Mikel's importance to Chelsea is underlined by the fact he signed a five-year extension only last year to remain at Stamford Bridge until 2017.

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