John Obi Mikel (2nd L) carries the UEFA Champions League trophy with some of his Chelsea team mates
John Mikel Obi has said that Saturday’s UEFA Champions League win was the greatest moment of his life as he became the third Nigerian to record the feat.
Mikel’s Chelsea beat favourites Bayern Munich in front of their home fans on penalties to win their first-ever Champions League trophy.
The Nigeria star was in the thick of the action from start to finish, unlike in 2008 when he was an unused substitute as Chelsea lost another penalty shootout against fellow English club Manchester United in the Champions League final.
An ecstatic Mikel, who was great in the heart of Chelsea midfield breaking Bayern attack again and again, told MTNFootball.com Saturday’s conquest has brought to an end a long-chased dream to be champions of Europe.
"This is an incredible feat and feeling. Words cannot express how I am feeling," Mikel told MTNFootball.com.
"We have been dreaming of this day since I joined the team (in 2006), this is the best and greatest moment of my career. It will live with me for the rest of my life.”
The Nigeria star, who has now matched the feat achieved by the Ajax Amsterdam pair of Nwankwo Kanu and Finidi George of 1995, admitted he was shocked when Bayern took the lead late in the final, but did not completely lose hope.
"I was devastated for just a few minutes, and said to myself we need to keep playing as something tell me we will score and when it happened,” he said.
The German giants still had another chance to take the lead even after an incredible Didier Drogba headed equaliser when Drogba caused a penalty against his team but Arjen Robben’s effort from the spot was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
“I knew we will be champions especially when they lost penalty during the game,” he revealed.
“When it came to the penalty shootout, I remembered 2008 and prayed to God to give us the day and he did. I am fulfilled that I was part of this history. In 2008, I knew I won't play because Maka (Claude Makelele) was around and the best in the world in that position. It is great to be a part of this victory now.”
Several Nigerian cities threw street parties as Chelsea and Mikel won their first-ever Champions League title on Saturday.
In Jos, the birth place of Mikel and where his family still lives, thousands of fans poured out on to the streets in wide jubilation, singing and dancing.
Many of them wore Mikel's Chelsea number 12 jersey shirt and other regalia to display their support for the midfielder and his English club.
The Obis' and a close confidant of Mikel, Babawo Mohammed hosted neighbours and fans Sunday as part of the celebration.
"I don't know Chelsea have fans like that until after the final. The streets of Jos were crowded with happy,” Mohammed said.
One of the ecstatic fans Jerry Udoh told MTNFootball.com: "I am very happy, because I thought it was over when they (Bayern) were awarded a penalty. I have never seen this kind jubilation. This was the day I knew that Chelsa enjoy such great support.
“I am also happy for Mikel. He deserved it."
The celebrations were spontaneous as excited fans stormed the streets of neighbourhoods like Tundun Wada, Mosalachi Jumma Street, Angwan Rukuba, Rukuba Road, Plateau Agricultural Development Area, Stadium Road to mention but a few places in the Plateau State capital.
Owners of drinking parlours and eateries recorded massive sales as people celebrated by feasting all night long.
In Lagos, fans across Okota, Ilasamaja and Ikotun trooped out in large number after the match to celebrate with a lot of fireworks and bangers, singing the praise of their Chelsea heroes.
A fan painted a live cow in Chelsea colours, complete with their club crest before the final.
Lagos fan, Henry Nkem Okon said, "I wish I were rich now because I would have thrown a big party. But now I have to join my fellow fans to dance on the streets.
“I am over the moon for ‘The Blues’ and Mikel in particular. He really played well in the final."
In the country’s capital city Abuja, the celebrations were low-keyed but on the densely, poor outskirts of Nyanya, Lugbe, Kuje and Karu Chelsea fans danced and sang in joy after the final at the Allianz Arena.
In Enugu, a fan is critically ill after he broke his skull on Lagos Street in Asata after a car he was standing on swerved sharply and he fell off.
It was a carnival complete with traditional masquerade displays along Bissalla Road, Independence Layout and loud-sounding fireworks screamed through the night sky on Nza Street and Maryland.
Car tyres were burnt on Zik Avenue and Agbani Road as part of the victory party.