John Obi Mikel has confirmed he is signing for Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda in a goodbye message to Chelsea supporters.
The Nigeria international has represented the Blues since 2006 and won 11 trophies, including the Champions League in 2012.
Mikel now becomes the latest big name to move to China, joining a Tianjin Teda side who finished 10th in last season’s competition.
The 29-year-old thanked Chelsea fans, telling them he was thrilled to be leaving with the club sitting top of the Premier League.
But Mikel explained he has found this season difficult having not played any first-team matches and was delighted to be moving to China “at a time that that the CSL is really taking off”.
The midfielder’s contract was due to expire at the end of the season.
A letter to my Chelsea family. pic.twitter.com/FhcUyq3iaV
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) January 6, 2017
“After 10 years, 374 appearances and 11 trophies, it is time for me to say goodbye,” Mikel wrote on his Twitter account.
“I say goodbye as a champion of England, a champion of Europe, and proud captain of my national team.
“To play in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is every professional player’s ambition.
“But to play for Chelsea, to become part of the Chelsea family, to work with some of the best managers and players in the world, has truly been an honour.”
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