How Antonio Conte treated John Obi Mikel worse than Costa at Chelsea

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Antonio Conte has certainly lived up to his reputation as one of the stricter coaches around since joining Chelsea little over 12 months ago.

His extremely detailed and disciplined approach appeared to work wonders on the pitch immediately, with the Blues storming to the Premier League title.

However, his approach off the pitch hasn't been quite as successful.

The Italian's very controversial treatment of Diego Costa - telling him he no longer had a future at the club via text - has forced the striker to spend the start of the season in Brazil.

Following the big bust-up, Costa remains a Chelsea player, for now, although a return to Atletico Madrid is believed to be still in discussion.

That isn't the only run-in the former Italy manager has had with a senior player during his spell at Stamford Bridge, though.

It has been revealed the 48-year-old also fell out with one of the club's longest serving players at the time, John Obi Mikel, and apparently treated him even worse than Costa.

According to ex-Blues youngster, Emmanuel Sarki, Mikel was shunned by Conte after deciding to play for Nigeria at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

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“I was told how Conte treated Mikel after his decision to represent Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics," Sarki, who was on Chelsea's books between 2006-10, told, as per The Mirror.

“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."


As someone who had just managed Italy at Euro 2016, you would have thought Conte might have had a bit more sympathy for Mikel's desire to represent his country.

But he didn't and with that, Mikel's 10-year association with Chelsea was abruptly put to an end.

After failing to make a single appearance under Conte, the holding midfielder was allowed to join Tianjin TEDA in China last January.

Sarki added: "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."

So if you think Costa has been given a tough time over the last few months, spare a thought for Mikel who, to his credit, suffered in silence!

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