Mikel Obi said he was so angry at Conte after the Italian manager dropped him from the Chelsea squad because he played for Nigeria at the Olympics.
|Antonio Conte watches on as John Obi Mikel and Chelsea players train in the 2016/17 season.|
Super Eagles legend John Obi Mikel almost got physical with Antonio Conte after a heated meeting which made the midfielder walkout.
Mikel is one of the most underrated players in history both for club and country as fans have controversial opinions about him.
Despite playing at the top of football at Stamford Bridge for 11 years with different managers including Jose Mourinho, Luis Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti trusting him, people still don't rate him as highly as he should be.
Mikel was an ever-present figure in the historic Chelsea squad, playing as a defensive midfielder behind players like Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Deco and Ramirez.
But the Nigerian star could not make the matchday squad after Antonio Conte took over in 2016.
The Olympics was held in the same year and Mikel who had been called up to represent his national team was keen to win a medal for his country.
Unfortunately, the event clashed with the start of the Premier League season and the new Italian manager told him to choose between his club career at Chelsea or going to play for Nigeria at the Olympics.
In an interview with The Athletic, Mikel said: “This guy who has just walked in the door for five minutes is telling me I had to choose.
"He was saying, ‘If you do that, you won’t be a part of this team’.
"I spoke to the club and told them that I wanted to go.
Although the Chelsea board approved Mikel's decision to play at the Olympics, Antonio Conte did as he promised and he never made the Blues squad again, he was forced out and made to move to the Chinese Super League in January.
"The club respected me because of what I had done for them and how long I’d been there.
"So off I went and I felt punished for that. I came back and I didn’t make the squad. I was never in the squad list on match days again." - Mikel added.
He signed for Tianjin TEDA after the Chelsea hierarchy terminated let him go for free was a reward for his many years at the club but Mikel Obi had another face-off with Conte before he left.
"This was after making me train on my own for months, treating a player who had been at Chelsea for a long time like this!
“When he tried to meet with me he was like, ‘Let’s try and makeup, I will need you in the team, let’s squash this, blah, blah, blah!’.
"I was like, ‘Are you joking?! Are you f****** serious?!’ He knew I wanted out.
"I stood up and walked out of the room. You can’t disrespect a human being like that." Concerning his defensive midfield role and how fans don't give him the praises he deserves, Mikel said he learnt and took Makelele's advice when they were both at Chelsea.
on Obi Mikel: “[Makelele told me] ‘The fans have two things in mind: putting the ball in the net or giving assists, If you don’t do that, you’re unlikely to be a fans’ favourite."
“I did quickly grow to understand that.
He [Makelele] told me, ‘Listen, you’re not going to get accolades playing in this position. You just have to do the dirty work, make sure the team wins and then all the glory goes to the strikers! Always."
“When someone like that is talking, you pay attention.
[Makelele said] I have done this all my career. In Real Madrid I did it. Zinedine Zidane and the others got all the credit, I never got any’. Straight away I understood what I was getting myself into.
“My reaction was, ‘I just want to play!."