John Michael Nchekwube Obinna has been a Chelsea midfielder for the last 10 years, although you’ll know him as John Obi Mikel. But the Nigerian has officially changed his name, 13 years on from when he began to be known by his long-term moniker.
As reported by the London Evening Standard, the Nigerian FA made an error when submitting Mikel for the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, naming him as “Mikel” instead of “Michael.”
As Richard Innes of the Mirror said on Tuesday, "Confused? You will be."
Now, after going by either "Mikel John Obi" or "John Obi Mikel" during his Chelsea days, the Nigeria midfielder has finally had his name changed to the former to make clear that the "Mikel" is a given name.
Per the piece, Mikel said the mistaken name had a "special ring to it," which is why he adopted it following the clerical faux pas. He’s also set to continue wearing "Mikel" with the accompanying No. 12 on the back of his Blues jersey this season.
So just to summarize, his birth name is John Michael Nchekwube Obinna, he was accidentally called "John Obi Mikel" and originally liked the ring of it enough to let it fly for a while, but he will be going by the name "Mikel John Obi" from now on.
The Nigeria international has been a longstanding member of the Blues squad, having joined from Lyn a decade ago. Now 29, he's one of the senior members at Chelsea and has been named as the captain of the Nigeria Olympic team for the upcoming Games in Rio de Janeiro, per Aanu Adeoye of Goal.com.