“I was obviously very clear before traveling to Brazil that my target was the gold medal, but to get the bronze is still an amazing achievement,” Mikel said in his column in London’s Evening Standard.
Mikel played a key role in the goals scored by Roma striker Sadiq Umar – who scored two goals – and Aminu Umar with the other, to give Nigeria their third overall Olympic medal in football.
Honduras fought back with two quick goals from Antony Lozano‘s header in the 71st minute and Marcelo Pereira‘s header off a free kick in the 86th minute. But it was too late for the Central American team to stop Nigeria from taking home a bronze medal.
And billionaire Japanese plastic surgeon, Katsuya Takasu, who promised to reward the team even if they won no medal, presented a N134 million donation to coach Samson Siasia and team captain Mikel Obi after their third place finish.
“There was a celebration at the hotel afterwards, we were all jumping around. Everyone was so excited. But we managed to get everyone to sit down together and have a team meal. After everything we have been through, it was great to have something to show for it and we all thanked each other.
“It really is a dream come true for me. I might take the medal to the Chelsea training ground to show to the other players – I hope I don’t make them jealous though!” Mikel added.
Nigeria won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games with a 3-2 victory over Argentina. The team fell to Argentina in the final at the 2008 Beijing Games and settle for silver.
On his return to Chelsea for the ongoing 2016/17 season and how the Olympics Games have inspired him, he continued, “It’s provided me with a nice lift as I return to Chelsea. I will go back to see the manager and see what his plans are for me. I want to get back into training and prove myself. I want to play and help the team to win games.
“I know it will be difficult because I have missed most of pre-season and the coach has a new way of playing. But it is a positive thing for me that I have been playing well in Brazil and I’m in good shape.
“I will need a few days off first because this tournament has been so draining. I arrive back in London on Wednesday morning and the game against newly promoted Burnley on Saturday will come too early to feature in.”
Mikel also admitted that he needs a little break to enjoy his bronze medal and reflect on what has been a magical few weeks in his football career.