Football, called the king of sports, is a big industry that generates vast profits not just for the clubs and fans but the players as well. Luckily, Nigeria is one of the many countries that boast of the richest football players in Africa, taking home hefty paychecks every season. One of such Nigerian players is John Mikel Obi, whose $4 million annual salary, has helped build a massive net worth of $60 million, making him the richest footballer in Nigeria.
John Micheal Nchekwube Obinna, a.k.a John Mikel Obi, is a Nigerian professional footballer who played as a midfielder for Kuwait Premier League club Kuwait SC. Mikel Obi was born in Jos, Nigeria as the son of Michael Obinna, who runs an inter-state transport company in Jos, the capital of Plateau State. As his father is from Igbo ethnic group, “Nchekwube” means “hope,” and “Obi” is a nickname for the Igbo name “Obinna” (meaning “Father’s heart”).
Largely regarded as one of the best talents out of Africa to have played the round leather game, Mikel has enjoyed a huge chunk of his career plying his trade in the world’s best football league – the English Premier League. It is general knowledge that football players enjoy a lifestyle that is envied by others, and John Mikel Obi is not left out. Let’s take a look at how the former super eagles captain generated his jaw-dropping net worth.
How John Mikel Obi’s Net Worth was Built from His Football Career
The 34-year-old Nigerian-born professional football defensive midfielder has a fantastic football career. His track record of achievements as a footballer did not just make him famous as one of the best Midfielders; it also added some digits to his account. John Mikel Obi has a net worth of $60 million with an annual salary of about $6 million, which is a little below some of the renowned African footballers like Samuel Eto’o and Yaya Toure. However, he still stands as one of the most decorated and wealthiest footballers in Nigeria.
Mikel is proudly a four times English FA Cup winner, two times English Champions winner, one-time Champions League winner, and 1time African Cup winner. John Mikel Obi started his official football career at 12 when picked as a talented footballer among over 3,000 young talents to play in Pepsi Football Academy. A team which at that particular time was well known for going around Nigeria to search for the best there is from all the upcoming future stars, young talents to later move on to professional football. Obi stood out to all the scouts.
He got picked to play in a top-flight team, Plateau United, also known for making stars like Celestine Babayaro, Victor Obinna, Chris Obodo, and many more who played in European teams representing their country later on in their careers. Later known as John Obi Mikel, he was gaining headlines for his country at the FIFA Under-17 World Championships held in Finland. Subsequently, he went on trial to South Africa club Ajax Cape Town before joining Lyn in Norway for a deal reportedly worth £4 million.
His Controversial Transfer to England
On April 29, 2005, a few days after Mikel’s 18th Birthday, the Premier League club Manchester United announced that it had struck a deal with the Norwegian club Lyn Oslo to sign the player. ManU’s website also claimed that they had done an agreement directly with the teenager and that he had signed a contract to join them. Meanwhile, Mikel’s agents were boycotted in the deal, as the club persuaded the youngster to sign a four-year contract without representation. Lyn Oslo allegedly sent a fax to his agents abroad, claiming Mikel no longer required their services.
Chelsea also issued a counter-claim suggesting that they already had an agreement with Mikel and his agents, but Lyn denied this claim. However, subsequent reports indicated that Chelsea claimed to have been involved in arranging the player’s original move to Europe to sign him at a later date. It was later revealed that the player had impressed Chelsea manager José Mourinho while training with the club’s first-team squad during the summer of 2004.
After a bit of back-and-forth between Manchester United, Chelsea, and Lyn, the three teams came to a consensus on June 2, 2006, and Mikel was transferred from Lyn to Chelsea, while Manchester United terminated their contract with him. In return, Manchester United received £12 million, while Lyn got back £4 million.
His 10 years Career with Chelsea Earned Him Massive Income
Mikel Obi joined the English Club, Chelsea, after they intervened and settled the transfer saga through negotiation with Lyn and Manchester United. With Chelsea agreeing to a transfer deal of €20.00m, Mikel, at 19 years of age, made his first start in September 2006 in the UEFA Champions League against Bulgarian club Levski Sofia and took a powerful shot that earned him positive recommendations. After a few hiccups that included a three separate fine for not being punctual for training, Mikel was able to score his first goal for Chelsea in their 6–1 FA Cup victory over Macclesfield Town on January 6, 2007
While with Chelsea FC, Mikel demonstrated high physical strength, excellent control of the ball, and masterful talent for pass running. His effectiveness attracted great respect and admiration from the fans of the team and his colleagues in Chelsea. Money-wise, Mikel made a huge income from his career with Chelsea. He made about a billion Naira annually while playing for the English club.
He Received Twice His Chelsea Pay While with Tianjin TEDA
Mikel left Chelsea in 2017 after signing up with Chinese club Tianjin TEDA on a free transfer on January 6, 2017. The Chinese Super League club, Tianjin TEDA, offered to pay him twice his Chelsea take-home pay after his transfer. The three-year deal with TEDA saw him earn £140,000 a week, which significantly increased John Mikel Obi’s net worth. His pay increase with the Chinese football club gave his financial balance a further push.
He was at the time listed as the first Nigerian footballer to earn more than a hundred pounds a week. Mikel left Tianjin TEDA at the end of the 2018 Chinese Super League season in November 2018. After spending about two years in China, he scored two league goals for Tianjin and the first goal of the season against Guangzhou R&F.
He Currently Earns $4 Million Annually at Kuwait Sporting Club
Upon canceling his contract agreement with Stoke, Mikel signed a year contract with Kuwait SC. The 34-year-old defensive midfielder moved to Kuwait top-flight side Kuwait Sporting Club on July 1, 2021, after sealing a deal of $4 million. According to reports, Mikel would earn a whopping $4 Million per annum, which is understood to be the highest any player would earn in the Kuwaiti league. This translates to over 1.4 Billion Naira yearly, 137 Million Naira Monthly, and 34 Million Naira Weekly.
Mikel’s return to Asia, where he left just two years after a brief career with Chinese club Tianjin Teda, came as a shock to some of his fans worldwide, but considering how much the former super Eagles captain would be earning, the reason may not be far-fetched. With over 23 billion Naira a year, John Mikel Obi is the richest footballer in Nigeria to date. Before his new deal, Mikel agreed to a one-year deal to play for EFL Championship side Stoke City. The deal, signed on August 17, 2020, saw the Nigerian football player earning roughly £780,000 annually and £15,000 weekly.
The 2018–19 season saw Mikel playing for English Championship team Middlesbrough on a short-term deal that was meant to give him an additional 7.28 million GBP. His eventual release by Middlesbrough at the end of the 2018–19 season also saw him signing a two-year deal with Trabzonspor. The deal, which has an option of an additional 12 months, reportedly saw him earning over €150,000 a week.
Highlights of Mikel Obi’s Football Career Earnings
|Club Played||Duration||Annual Salary|
|Plateau United||2002-2004||Not Disclosed|
|Lyn FC||2004-2006||£4 million|
|Chelsea FC||2006-2017||£7.28 million|
|Tianjin TEDA||2017- 2018||£7.2 million (£140.000 weekly)|
|Stoke City||2020 -2021||£1.560 Milion|
|Kuwait SC||2021 – Present||£ 4 million|
Endorsement Deals Also Contribute to John Mikel Obi’s Massive Net Worth
In addition to his earnings from his football career, John Mikel Obi also earns a lot from endorsements. He is a brand ambassador for some top brands in Nigeria and abroad. For example, he was a brand ambassador for Amstel Malta, where he earned about N800 million alongside the Nollywood star actress Genevieve Nnaji. Before that, he was a brand ambassador for Peak – one of Nigeria’s giant milk brands. The deal was worth N20 million, and it lasted for two years. John Mikel Obi also had an endorsement with Pepsi.
How Mikel Spends His Money
With such a massive net worth, John Mikel Obi’s career has been quite successful. His wealth affords the star player all the good things of life, including exotic mansions and luxury cars to fit the lifestyle he lives. While he sends to satisfy his taste, Mikel invests a larger chunk of his money in real estate both in his home country and abroad.
John Obi Mikel owns many houses in Nigeria as well as in London. His house in the United Kingdom that reportedly has a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, home cinema, Sports facilities, and a Spa, is worth over $265,000. Aside from his residential apartment in London, the football midfielder is said to invest most of his money in real estate across the major cities in Nigeria, China, and Surrey. According to some unconfirmed media reports, Mikel has four houses in Abuja, Lagos (Lekki), and Jos. One of his many houses is estimated at £200,000.
His Car Collection
Packed in the garage of the superstar is a fleet of cars an average person can only dream of owning. Here’s a list of such luxury cars you would find in his garage:
Bentley Continental GT
John Mikel Obi acquired this car at the price of $180,000. The car comes with some cool features, which include:
- Three years warranty
- Led headlamp
- Child seat anchors
- V8 cylinders
- Combined MPG 19
- Auto delay off headlamps
- Dual front side-mounted airbags
- Dual rear headrests
- All-wheel drive
- 8-speed automated manual transmission
- Double front headrest
- Blindspot and lane departure warnings accident avoidance system.
Mercedes Benz G Wagon (G550 4Matic)
This is another of John Mikel Obi’s expensive vehicles, and it cost him $130,000 to acquire. Some of its unique features are:
- V-8 power and rumble
- The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine
- Five-seat, mid-size luxury SUV
- Backseat space
- Three electronic locking differentials
- All-wheel drive standard
- Performance-oriented AMG G 63 available
Range Rover Sport
This exotic ride owned by John Mikel Obi is valued at $119,900, and it encompasses the following features:
- Awesome off-road ability
- Driver drowsiness monitoring
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure warning
- State of the art interiors
- Front and rear-view sensors
- Parallel and perpendicular park assist
- High-speed automatic emergency braking
- Forward collision warning
Mercedes Benz E-Class
Among John Mikel Obi’s fleet of cars is his Mercedes Benz E-Class, which he bought at the price of $75,000. The car has some incredible features such as:
- 9-speed automated
- Rear-wheel drive
- Twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with 603 horsepower and 627-pound feet of torque
- All-wheel drive
- Turbo-charged engine with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder compartment with 255 horsepower and 273-pound feet of torque.
Mikel Obi Awards and Career Achievements
Mikel’s football career has been successful so far, and for his excellent performance, he has witnessed and received several awards. While at Chelsea, Mikel won two Premier League titles: 2009/2010 and 2014/2015 seasons. Three FA Cup titles: 2006/2007, 2008/2009, and 2011/2012 seasons. One Football League Cup: 2006/2007 season. One FA Community Shield: 2009. One UEFA Champions League title: 2011/2012 season. And one UEFA Europa League trophy: 2012/2013 season.
While paying for the Turkish side, he won just the Turkish Cup in the 2019/2020 season. Back in his home country, the football player became popular for winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. He finished in third place on three occasions, in 2006, 2010, and 2019. Mikel was also part of the Nigeria 2016 Summer Olympics football team that won the Bronze medal
On an individual level, he claimed the silver ball award at the FIFA u-20 World Cup in 2005. He emerged as the winner of the 2005 CAF Most Promising Talent of the Year. In 2007 and 2008, he was named Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year. In 2005 and 2013, he was listed in the CAF Team of the Year. He was also included in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament. He came second in the African Footballer of the Year award held in 2013.