John Obi Mikel talked candidly about the tragic moment in 2018 when, just moments before participating in the biggest game of his career.
Pa Michael Obi, Mikel’s father, was locked up the night before Nigeria’s World Cup match against Argentina in Russia.
In actuality, it was his second kidnapping. the first occurred in 2011 and left him imprisoned for ten days.
John Obi Mikel recalls a bad memory
During an interview on talkSPORT with Jim White and Simon Jordan, Mikel talked about one of his worst experiences.
He said: “My dad got kidnapped while I was playing for the national team at the World Cup 2018 in Russia and we were about to play against Argentina [in the final match of the group stages].“
“Two hours before the game I got a phone call from my brother saying that my dad has been kidnapped for the second time in Nigeria.”
“He was kidnapped for the first time and I spoke to the kidnappers and they demanded lots of money from me, which I did eventually pay before my dad got released.”
“So I thought about it. I was like, okay, you know what? I’m going to keep quiet. I called my mum and my brothers, everybody was crying on the phone. They were saying no you shouldn’t go out and play because you’re not going to be able to perform well.“
“So I didn’t tell anybody. I went on the pitch and I played. Sadly, we didn’t win the game and then after that I told everybody.”
“In the dressing room the manager and some of the players were almost in tears. They were saying you should have told us and you shouldn’t have played.”
“He said don’t worry about that. Just let me, if you want that option, I can do it.“
Roman Abramovich raised his hand
The Nigerian at that point got the hand of support in his head from former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
He said: “I remember Roman [Abramovich] saying do you want me to send people over? Because I know if I send people over, I can get your dad out. I was like, how are you going to do this?“
“He said don’t worry about that. Just let me, if you want that option, I can do it.”
Luis Diaz faced the same
Luis Diaz is currently experiencing a similar circumstance due to the kidnapping of both of his parents in Colombia.
His father is still being held captive, but his mother has been freed. Liverpool open the doors of support for Diaz who is in his low.
Also John Obi Mikel sent a message to Diaz as he said: “My message to him is stay strong and do all you can to make sure that your dad is released.”
“I can relate to Luis Diaz and what he’s going through. This kind of situation is where you absolutely have nothing to do.”