Roman Abramovich offered to send people to save my kidnapped father in 2018 — Mikel Obi

Mikel Obi

Ex-Nigeria international Mikel Obi has revealed that former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich offered to ‘send people over’ to Nigeria to help after learning of his father’s kidnap in 2018.

Mikel’s father, Pa Michael Obi, was kidnapped the second time the day before the former Chelsea midfielder played in Nigeria’s World Cup clash against Argentina.

Mikel spoke about his father’s kidnap when asked on talkSport to comment on Liverpool forward Luis Diaz whose father was taken hostage by kidnappers in Colombia.

The 36-year-old said he knew “exactly what he (Diaz) was going through” and recounted the surprise request for intervention from the Russian billionaire Abramovich.

“Chelsea were very supportive,” Mikel said, “I remember Roman (Abramovich) saying, ‘Do you want me to send people over? Because I know if I send people over, I can get your dad out.’ I was like, ‘How are you going to do this?’

“He said, ‘Don’t worry about that. Just let me, if you want that option, I can do it.'”

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On how he felt when he learnt his father had been kidnapped the second time, Mikel described it as “absolutely heartbreaking”.

“I couldn’t leave the room. I couldn’t tell anybody. I was alone in the room for about 30 minutes, thinking what am I going to do? Should I tell the manager? Should I tell my teammates? Or should I make an announcement?

“But we’re about to go into the biggest game of our lives. We’re about to play against Lionel Messi and Argentina.

“So I thought about it. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to keep quiet.’ I called my mum and my brothers, everybody was crying on the phone.

“They were saying ‘No you shouldn’t go out and play because you’re not going to be able to perform well.’

“I took time on my own and I decided that I’m going to go out there and play,” said the former Super Eagles captain.

Nigeria lost the game to Argentina 2-1.