Former Super Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi has explained how it all went down between himself and Turkish club Trabzonspor leading to the termination of his contract.
Mikel, who joined the Super Lig side barely nine months ago, left the club earlier this week by mutual consent, forgoing his contract.
The former Chelsea midfielder had posted a controversial Instagram comment after he felt the Turkish FA was becoming unreasonable over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
Speaking with The Athletic following his departure from Turkey, Mikel revealed that he was summoned by the Trabzonspor President, who asked him to take down the post but he refused.
“I told him I wasn’t going to do that. It’s my opinion. This is how I feel. We live in a free world. I have freedom of speech. I can express my opinion,” he said.
“I told them I wanted to go home. They said, ‘If you go home, you’re not coming back.’ I said, ‘OK, I’m going home.
“I explained to the club that I needed to see and be with my kids. They were calling me every single morning, crying on the phone, wondering why their friends were not coming over for play dates, why they can’t touch anyone on the street. I didn’t feel happy every morning lying to my kids, making up stories to explain why in order to try not to make them panic (about COVID-19).
“I knew if I came home, they’d be relaxed because they’d then know daddy was home. I told the club, ‘OK, if that’s what you’re saying, I’m ready to give up my contract. To be with my family, to help the world to do the right thing — everybody needs to stay at home at this point in time’.
“I have taken a financial hit by taking this stance. It is worth every single penny, I’m telling you. To see my kids happy and fine, to know we will survive this together, the only way we can beat this is by being at home with your family, taking care of your family, your neighbour.
“We have to look at ourselves sometimes in life and ask, ‘what is more important? Who do I want to be friends with? When I’m in trouble, who is going to look after me?’ And, the way they have dealt with this, I don’t see myself going back to Trabzonspor again,” added Mikel
Meanwhile, the Turkish FA has now suspended the Super Lig and all amateur football in the country until further notice.