John Obi Mikel had his Trabzonspor contract terminated through mutual consent after a public dispute over the Super Lig deciding to go ahead with games last weekend amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Mikel publically expressed his displeasure with the decision for football to resume and shared his thoughts in an Instagram post.
In the series of events that unfolded Mikel ended up leaving the club despite having another season – with the option to extend to two seasons – on his contract worth approximately €1.5m per season.
In an interview with The Athletic, Mikel revealed that he took the decision to be with his family and that he does not regret what he did.
Mikel said: “UEFA have postponed football. How come they are still playing in Turkey? It’s not right at all. But Trabzonspor were not having it — for me, they don’t care.
“I told them I wanted to go home. They said, ‘If you go home, you’re not coming back.’ I said, ‘OK, I’m going home.’”
Mikel still lives in Surrey near Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham, a place he still describes as home.
The 32-year-old spent 11 seasons at the Blues and his kids grew up during his time at the London based club.
Turkey banned travel from England over the past week meaning Mikel’s family were unable to visit him.
Should England take similar measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak it could have meant the former Nigeria international being left in limbo unable to see his family for the foreseeable future.
“I explained to the club that I needed to see and be with my kids. They were calling me every single morning, crying on the phone, wondering why their friends were not coming over for playdates, why they can’t touch anyone on the street. I didn’t feel happy every morning lying to my kids, making up stories to explain why in order to try not to make them panic (about COVID-19),” he added.
“I knew if I came home, they’d be relaxed because they’d then know daddy was home. I told the club, ‘OK, if that’s what you’re saying, I’m ready to give up my contract. To be with my family, to help the world to do the right thing — everybody needs to stay at home at this point in time’.
“I have taken a financial hit by taking this stance. It is worth every single penny, I’m telling you. To see my kids happy and fine, to know we will survive this together; the only way we can beat this is by being at home with your family, taking care of your family, your neighbour.
“When I arrived back at London Heathrow, it was amazing. My girlfriend has been panicking all week over the possibility of the UK borders being shut and me not being able to come back home, that I’d be stuck in Turkey. Just imagine if this goes on for months? I wouldn’t be able to see my kids, to help my family? God forbid anything happened to them and I wasn’t there. I wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice.”