StoryAntonio Conte's treatment of John Obi Mikel far worse than Diego Costa's

Former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Sarki believes that the treatment of Diego Costa is 'mild' when compared to how John Obi Mikel was ignored at Chelsea.

The Nigeria international failed to make a single appearance under manager Antonio Conte before he was sold off to Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda in the January transfer window.

Obi Mikel was given permission by Conte to represent Nigeria at the Olympic games last summer, but upon his return, he found out that he is deemed surplus to requirements. Conte therein limited the Nigerian to first-team training despite Gernot Rohr insisting that the player should receive some game time with the reserves.

Speaking on Owngoalnigeria, Sarki insisted that Mikel was more harshly treated that Costa following the series of events which happened prior to his Stamford Bridge exit, he said: “I was told how Conte treated Mikel after his decision to represent Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Olympics. He was granted permission to go by Conte under one condition, which was 'you might not get a look in upon your return.

Mikel was told by the same man who granted him permission to represent Nigeria at the Olympic upon his return that his services isn’t needed anymore. Even when the coach of the national team of Nigeria (Gernot Rohr) pleaded for Mikel to be allowed to play U23 games to build up his fitness, Conte still didn’t budge."

Mikel has made a slow start following his move to the Far East after having spent a lengthy time out with a knee injury. Despite this, he has opened his goalscoring count with one goal in five appearances, and his decision to move to TEDA appears to have had no influence on his national team berth. Rohr has recalled him alongside former Chelsea teammate Victor Moses, who was rested previously due to his exploits with the west London giants.