Mikel Says Mourinho Changed His Position At Chelsea Because Of Ex-Real Madrid Star
Mikel joined Chelsea in 2006 after a long transfer saga that involved Manchester United and Lyn Oslo– the selling club. Mikel signed for Chelsea to play as an attacking midfielder, but to the surprise of many people, the ex-Nigerian international played as a defensive midfielder.
Mourinho was Chelsea’s manager when Mikel joined the club, but his decision to turn the former Stoke City into a defensive player was not well-received by many Nigerians.
Mikel had shown his quality as an attacking player at the 2005 FIFA U20 World Cup, which explains why Mourinho’s decision to convert him to a defensive player annoyed his fans.
However, the recently retired footballer has explained the reason behind Mourinho’s decision. Speaking in an interview with BBC Sport, Mikel said Mourinho had to change his role because of the immence competition in the attacking positions and Makelele’s departure.
The former Stoke City man added that Mourinho wanted him to take over from Makelele, who was in his final months at Chelsea when Mikel arrived.
“Mourinho decided that he wanted me to play the defensive midfield position,” Mikel told BBC. At the end of the day, he is the coach and made the decision,” Mikel recalled.
“We discussed, and he felt that because of the big midfield players he had in his squad at Chelsea that I should play the defensive midfield role.
“[Claude] Makelele was just finishing his career at Chelsea, so Mourinho wanted me to take over from Makelele,” Mikel added.
Mikel went on to have a great career as a defensive midfielder, playing a key role in Chelsea’s success in the 21st century.
The ex-Nigerian international won two Premier League titles with the Blues, four FA Cups, the Champions League, and the Europa League.