Mikel is now a player of Chinese club Tianjin Teda after winning everything at Chelsea
Wednesday Feb 01, 2017. 16:54
Nigeria stars Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Chinedu Obasi have joined some of world football’s top stars to grab the ‘crazy money’ China now offers.
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The likes of Carlos Tevez and Oscar have hopped on the bandwagon to China as they secure their financial future before they hang their boots.
Shanghai Shenhua splashed about 72 million pounds on Tevez, 32, to make him the sixth most expensive player in the world.
The Argentina World Cup star is also reported to now be the highest earning footballer in the worth as he will now pocket 615,000 pounds a week in China.
For Mikel and Obasi, their latest transfers will be their last big pay day, just like Obafemi Martins did last year when he left the Major League Soccer (MLS) to team up with Shanghai Shenhua.
Obasi has featured at the World Cup and played for top German Bundesliga clubs like Hoffenheim and Schalke 04, but he has been plagued by a series of long-term injuries that threatened to bring to a premature end a highly promising career.
At a point in his career, ‘Edu’ did not kick a football for close to two years because of his injury troubles and this most certainly affected his bank balance adversely.
His move to ambitious Chinese second-tier league side Shenzhen FC will now make up for what he lost in those two years in Germany.
In the case of Mikel, the Super Eagles skipper has won virtually all there is to win with Chelsea – UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA and League Cups.
It was therefore time for him for him to grab the fortune Tianjin Teda tabled before him.
Now 27, Ighalo had left his family in Lagos by 2007 to be a professional footballer, first in Norway before he moved to Udinese in Italy, then Granada in Spain and thereafter Watford of England.
It could be argued that he still had a couple of years left in him in a top league in football particularly as he has not won anything of note in Europe.
But after great Premier League debut which saw him score 15 goals, this season has been a struggle for both him and his modest club.
Two years after he rejected “the crazy money” from China, he has
A football career is on the average short and unpredictable, and so you must plan for the day when you will no longer be paid for doing what you know how to do best.
This decision is even more crucial for those players from developing countries like Nigeria where the pressures of living caused by lack of infrastructures and the extended family are a lot more demanding.
Watford skipper Troy Deeney succinctly captured what would have motivated his former strike partner Ighalo to move to the Far East when he said ‘Iggy’ has many mouths to feed.
Today, after all the exploits in Europe many of the country’s top stars have now fallen on hard times so much so that some of them have even become a nuisance to their families.
Mikel, Ighalo and Obasi have only stayed real to themselves by grabbing the ‘crazy money’ now in China.