If you thought Mikel Obi had lost his competitive edge, well think again because whether England or China the midfielder is still the catalyst.
Mikel, who is in his second season in China with Tianjin Teda, is one of many stars who left behind the glamour of European football to the ambitious sino football project in the Super League.
However, the season has started a bit slowly for the Super Eagles captain, with his side picking just a point from two league games.
This Sunday though, Tianjin Teda welcome Tianjin Quanjian to the TEDA Football Stadium and a chance at redemption – or the start of one – has got the 30-year-old fired particularly with former Chelsea teammate, Alexander Pato, coming to town.
Pato joined Chelsea on loan in 2016 from Brazilian side, São Paulo and shared the locker room with Mikel during that period.
The prospect of that reunion seem to have lite up a rivalry – one only Mikel and Pato can explain.
In a tweet on Friday, the Tianjin Teda captain posted a direct challenge to the Brazilian forward in what he expects to be a “Tough game”.
— Mikel John Obi (@mikel_john_obi) March 16, 2018
Both teams are currently separated by just two points, with Quanjian in seventh spot ; five places above Sunday’s host.