Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi has announced his retirement from international football after about 14 years of national service.
The announcement, which he made on social media, came less than a day after he led the team to finish third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
32-year-old Mikel made a total of 89 appearances for Nigeria between 2005 and 2019, scoring six times for the Super Eagles.
The former Chelsea midfielder, who has just been signed by Trabzonspor of Turkey, played his first major tournament for Nigeria at the 2006 AFCON also hosted in 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,” Mikel wrote on Instagram.
“2019 African Cup of Nations marks my last championship for National Team with Super Eagles.
“My national career started in 2003 under 17 World Cup and I’m grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible National and 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.
“Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my Country for all the trust, support and love you’ve shown me over the past 15 years.”
Mikel played for Nigeria at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups and helped the Super Eagles win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
He was part of the team that finished third at the 2006 and 2010 Nations Cups, and also won bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
With the Flying Eagles at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Mikel won the silver ball as the tournament’s second-best player behind Argentina’s Lionel Messi.