Mikel’s move to China is confirmed

Chelsea midfielder John Mike Obi

John Obi Mikel has confirmed his departure from Chelsea after almost 11 years at the club.

The Nigeria midfielder, who has made 374 appearances for the Blues since his debut in 2006, said he was moving to Chinese Super League club Tianjin TEDA.

The 29-year-old broke back into the Chelsea side in the latter half of last season under interim manager Guus Hiddink, but has not featured at all since Antonio Conte took charge in the summer.

He is the second Chelsea player to move to China this season after Oscar’s £60m switch to Shanghai SIPG.

Writing on his Twitter page, Mikel – who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 – said: “I say goodbye as a champion of England, a champion of Europe and proud captain of my national team.

“To play for Chelsea, to become part of the Chelsea family, to work with some of the best managers and players in the world, has truly been an honour.

“To Mr [Roman] Abramovich, the club’s staff, coaches, physios, and to the managers I played under at Chelsea, I want to say thank you.”

Mikel, whose contract at Stamford Bridge was due to expire at the end of this season, also praised the club’s supporters.

“My biggest thanks must go to the Blues fans,” he added.

“You bought me into the Chelsea family, you sung my name and you were there with us every step of the way.

“Thanks to your support, on nights like in Munich, you made the impossible possible.”