By Johnny Edward:
Super Eagles skipper John Obi Mikel has issued a statement debunking reports that he was punished by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte for representing Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Mikel who was in action for the Super Eagles on Saturday as the Super Eagles beat Algeria 3-1 in Uyo said Gernot Rohr's comments over his inactiveness at Chelsea was misconstrued by the media.
The 29 year old however claimed Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and his club were in support of his participation at the Games.
The statement reads: "I'd like to clarify that the recent media claim that I've been punished by Chelsea for participating at the Rio 2016 Olympics are completely inaccurate.
"Unfortunately, comments made by Gernot Rohr before yesterday's 3-1 win over Algeria were both mistranslated and taken out of context bythe Nigerian media as English isn't Mr Rohr's or much of the Nigerian media's first language.
"To be absolute clear, Mr Conte and Chelsea were always in support of my captaincy of the Nigerian team in Rio.
"The manager gave me his full blessing to participate at the Olympics and even encouraged me to bring back the gold medal- something I spoke to the media about that time.
"It goes without saying that there's nothing but absolute respect between myself, the Nigerian national team and Chelsea FC, something that was demonstrated by Mr Rohr's recent visit to Cobhams.
"My only focus now is on winning more silverware with Chelsea and getting Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup. Two challenges I can't wait to face."
Since arrival from the Rio Olympic Games, Mikel is yet to be listed for the Blues this term and has been linked with several moves in the January window.