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John Obi Mikel says Sir Alex Ferguson has finally ‘forgiven’ him for snubbing Man United to join Chelsea


John Obi Mikel has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson has finally forgiven him, nearly two decades on from when he snubbed Manchester United to join Chelsea

John Obi Mikel says Sir Alex Ferguson has finally ‘forgiven’ him for snubbing Man United to join Chelsea

The former Nigerian international initially signed for the Red Devils in 2005 and was even seen wearing the club shirt in a hastily arranged press conference.

That was until the Blues swooped in as he joined Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge in 2006, though Chelsea were forced to pay a £12m settlement to their rivals to ensure it went ahead.

Mikel previously revealed that he ‘s*** himself’ when he saw Ferguson following the U-turn, and that the Scottish manager gave him a death stare.

But Mikel and Ferguson, 82, were pictured together at the Champions League final at Wembley on Saturday, and the former Chelsea star has revealed how Ferguson had finally forgiven him.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the 37-year-old said: ‘It’s so good for the boss to finally forgive me after such a long time.

‘He mentioned (the saga) a couple of times (during his career) it was like, ‘You were the one that got away aren’t you?’

‘But he’s a lovely, lovely man and 82-years-old he’s still strong.

‘I told him “We want to have you here as much as we can, for as long as we can”. And he’s like, “Listen, you got away but you had an amazing career with Chelsea so I wouldn’t say anything wrong about that, but I definitely forgive you now”.’

Mikel also told talkSPORT that he had signed a pre-contract with Manchester United before he turned 18.

United had persuaded Mikel to sign a four-year contract with his agents being bypassed and it was anticipated that the midfielder would arrive at Old Trafford in January 2006.

Mikel added: ‘Then when they (Chelsea) saw the whole news on the TV, ‘Oh, what’s happening here? Well, Mikel has signed for United, a pre-contract.’ Of course they had to send the agents, everybody down to Oslo to find out what’s happened.

‘They came down and that’s when I was taken away from the club, I was sort of taken away somewhere hidden for like a couple hours and nobody knew where I was. Then finally I got flown out to London by Chelsea and locked away somewhere, so it went on for about a year, trying to sort it out.’

Mikel missed a year of football as the issue was getting resolved, before he eventually made the switch to Chelsea in 2006.

Speaking on the Debrief Podcast last year, Mikel said: ‘I saw him one time, it was Manchester United against Chelsea, I was coming out of the dressing room and as I was coming out of the door at the corner he was coming out and I just s*** myself’.

‘I can’t remember what happened, I think I tripped up on the stairs, he looked at me and he just walked out. He started chewing his gum and just walked out. He didn’t say a word.’

Mikel went on to enjoy a lengthy spell at Chelsea as he remained at the club until 2017.

In total he played 372 times for Chelsea and scored six goals, while he won the Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League.