The retired Nigeria international was hailed for his defensive masterclass in the final of the 2012 UEFA Champions League, but he explains that he did more than that to help the Blues beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.
Obi Mikel has confessed that he had a hand in getting Arjen Robben to miss an extra-time penalty for the German side, with Chelsea going on to lift their first-ever European title.
An attack-minded Bayern Munich – boasting the talents of Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben – were the clear favourites to claim another continental trophy on home soil against the Londoners whose appearance in the final had surprised many.
But the Blues were battle-ready in Munich, and their Nigerian midfielder delivered a performance that many didn’t believe he had in him, putting out fires everywhere.
Bayern took the lead late in the second half through Thomas Müller, but Didier Drogba equalized for Chelsea five minutes later to take the game to extra time.
When Roberto Di Matteo’s men conceded a penalty late on, it appeared Chelsea’s stubborn resolve had finally been broken.
But goalkeeper Petr Čech saved Arjen Robben’s low drive, forcing the encounter into a penalty shoot-out, which Chelsea won 4–3 to clinch their first Champions League title.
Mikel admits he may have distracted Robben a bit before he took his spot-kick.
“The score was 1-1 after the end of regulation time. Then, in the third minute of extra time, Drogba fouled Ribéry to concede a penalty,” Mikel told The Guardian Daily via AfriqueSports.
“I went straight to Robben and said, ‘Look, I’m telling you, you’re going to miss it.’
“He was not looking at me. We have known each other since Chelsea and I said, ‘You’re going to miss it.’ He did not say anything to me. He hit it, and he missed it. I said, ‘Wow. I guess right’.
That feat saw Chelsea become the first London club to win the tournament, the fifth English club and 22nd team, a fact not lost on the Trabzonspor star.
“This is something that will mark you forever. Being the first London club to win it was the greatest story of all time. “