Former Chelsea and Nigerian star, Emmanuel Sarki has revealed how Antonio Conte forced Mikel Obi out of the club due to his involvement in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The 30-year-old midfielder joined Chinese side, TEDA Tianjin last January after falling out of favour at Stamford Bridge, failing to make any Premier League start before his eventual departure, but Sarki who also featured for the Blues between 2006 and 2010 insists that Conte treated Mikel worse than how he is treating Diego Costa.
He said: “I was told how Conte treated Mikel after his decision to represent Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“He was granted permission to go by Conte under one condition, which was ‘you might not get a look in upon your return’.
”Mikel was told by the same man who granted him permission to represent Nigeria at the Olympic upon his return that his services isn’t needed anymore.
“Even when the coach of the national team of Nigeria (Gernot Rohr) pleaded for Mikel to be allowed to play U23 games to build up his fitness, Conte still didn’t budge.
“How painful he didn’t give Mikel the chance to say goodbye to fans who have stood by him for ten and half seasons.
”Costa’s case is mild to be honest, Mikel went through worst but never said or acted wild as he is someone who doesn’t talk much and hardly reacts negatively to issues,”