Retired Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed fresh details of how former Blues owner Roman Abramovich offered to help him when his father was kidnapped five years ago, Soccernet.ng reports.
Mikel made the revelations while extending a piece of heartfelt advice to Liverpool winger Luis Diaz following the recent abduction of Diaz’s father in Colombia.
Diaz’s parents were both taken, though his mother was released swiftly, leaving his father still in captivity. The Liverpool player’s emotional plea to the guerilla group responsible, seeking his father’s safe release, has garnered significant attention.
Mikel, who underwent a similar ordeal twice during his professional career, encouraged Diaz to maintain composure and take all necessary measures to secure his father’s freedom.
Reminiscing his own trials, Mikel commended Liverpool’s support for Diaz as he highlights the significance of a robust support system during such challenging moments.
“I am happy to see that Liverpool are very supportive,” Mikel told talkSport.
“I must give credit to Liverpool for what they are doing. I can relate to Luis Diaz and what he is going through. This kind of situation is where you absolutely have nothing to do.
“I know exactly what you are going through, and I hope he stays strong. I know it is a tough time for him as a player. I know what his family is going through as well.”
Mikel said: “My message to him is to stay strong and do all you can to make sure that your dad is released.”
Mikel, who suffered a similar experience twice when his father was kidnapped in 2011 and again in 2018, has opened up on how the Blues’ then-owner Roman Abramovich offered to help out personally after his father was kidnapped five years ago.
Then-captain of the Super Eagles, Mikel was preparing to lead Nigeria out for their last Group game at the World Cup against Argentina when he found out about the kidnapping.
“Two hours before the game, I got a phone call from my brother saying that my dad had been kidnapped for the second time in Nigeria,” Mikel added.
“He was kidnapped for the first time and I spoke to the kidnappers and they demanded lots of money from me, which I did eventually pay before my dad got released.
“But the second time happened while I was playing for my country and I got this phone call from my brother saying that dad has been kidnapped again for the second time.
“That was absolutely shocking. The first time was shocking, but the second time was even more shocking because I was about to go into one of the biggest games of my life.”
Mikel’s father, Pa Michael Obi, was eventually released after a week.