John Obi Mikel – Comparing Him With Lionel Messi

John Obi Mikel of Nigeria and Lionel Messi of Argentina were both at the world youth championship (FIFA U-20) in Netherlands in 2005, where they both shone like a Million Stars, to the delight of soccer fans the world over.

Both players played as creative/attacking midfielders for their countries at the youth championship. Argentina eventually defeated Nigeria by 2-1 at the final to win the trophy; and Lionel Messi emerged the world’s best player, while John Obi Mikel was voted second best player at the U-20 level.

Five years after, the gulf between the two players has widened so much that one begins to wonder what has happened. The Argentine went to FC Barcelona thereafter and developed his skills further to the point of wining several domestic titles, 2 champions’ league titles, 1 club world cup, 1 Olympics gold medal, European footballer of the year, world footballer of the year, etc.

But the Nigerian made the mistake of his career by allowing his father to influence him in choosing to go to Chelsea FC of England. The only achievement he can boast of till date include a few FA cups, Carling cups and community shield cup. He just won his first league title with Chelsea this year.

What went wrong?

Lionel Messi carefully chose a club side that allowed him to develop further, and brought out the best in him. John Obi Mikel, on the other hand refused a bid from Manchester United that would have enabled him maintain his position as an attacking midfielder and develop his skills further. Instead, he chose to go to Chelsea FC because of the money involved. On getting to Chelsea, Coach Jose Maurinho turned him into a defensive midfielder, and his skills nosedived. During the period he has stayed in Chelsea, Man U has won 3 league titles, 1 club world cup, 1 champions’ league title, etc. Today, he regrets his decision: he would have won 3 league titles, 1 champions’ league, 1 club world cup, several FA cups and Carling cups by now with Man U. He would have also had the opportunity to shine better than he is doing right now and perhaps be close to Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi in terms of skill. But today, he is not in the top 50 players’ list. What an Irony!

In choosing a career, one should not consider only the monetary aspect; one should think of one’s opportunity to develop further, and when the place you intend to develop your career does not guarantee you that chance, you should look elsewhere.

Besides, you should not allow anybody to influence you when it comes to choosing your career. You know what you want; why don’t you go for that which would give you satisfaction? If you make any mistakes from the onset, you may end up regretting for life.

Amelia J. Bell

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