Mikel announces Nigeria retirement after third-place AFCON finish

The third place play-off at the Africa Cup of Nations proved the final game of the 32-year-old midfielder's international career

John Obi Mikel has announced his retirement from international football after helping Nigeria to third place in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles lost to Algeria in the last four in Egypt, but atoned for that disappointment to a degree with a 1-0 win over Tunisia in the third place play-off.

That game marked the last appearance in a Nigeria shirt for Mikel, who confirmed the end of his career for his country in a post on Instagram.

It read: "Egypt is a country where I've started and have finished my national career. In 2006 I played my first official championship for my country. [The] 2019 Africa Cup of Nations marks my last championship for national team with Super Eagles. 

"My national career started in 2003 [at the] under-17 World Cup and I'm grateful for the national team for placing me on the world arena and giving me an opportunity to show my skill and have an incredible national and international career.

"At the age of 32 it's time for me to retire from the national team and let the youth take over, who've done an amazing job securing a bronze medal at AFCON 2019. 

"Thank you to all my Nigerian supporters and to my country for all the trust, support and love you've shown me over the past 15 years.

"Mikel am out!"

MIkel won the AFCON in 2013 and collected a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, while he also featured for the Super Eagles at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.

The former Chelsea star will continue his successful club career with Trabzonspor, having joined the Turkish side this summer.

Mikel won two Premier League titles as well as Champions League and Europa League trophies in 11 years with Chelsea before spending a season at Tianjin TEDA.

He returned to England in January this year with Middlesbrough and made 19 appearances as they finished sixth in the Championship – one point outside of the play-offs.

Mikel has signed a two-year deal with Trabzonspor, but his contract includes an option to stay on for a third season.