John Obi Mikel on Coronavirus: 'I Don't Feel Comfortable' Playing Football

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2020

John Obi Mikel of Trabzonspor AS during the Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig match between Trabzonspor AS and Besiktas AS at the Senol Gunes stadium on September 29, 2019 in Trabzon, Turkey(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Trabzonspor midfielder John Obi Mikel has said he does "not feel comfortable" playing football ahead of his team's clash with Istanbul Basaksehir on Sunday.

While a number of major European leagues have postponed their schedules because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, matches in the Turkish Super Lig are being played; two games went ahead on Friday, three will be played on Saturday, while three more will be played on Sunday and another on Monday.

While fixtures are being fulfilled in the Super Lig, the Turkish government have confirmed all football matches will be played behind closed doors until the end of April.

Trabzonspor will host the Istanbul outfit on Sunday, but in a statement on Instagram (h/t Goal), Mikel made it clear he didn't feel at ease going out onto the field.

"There is more to life than football," he said. "I do not feel comfortable and don’t want to play football in this situation. Everyone should be home with their families and loved ones in this critical time. Season should be cancelled as the world is facing such turbulent times."

Galatasaray forward Radamel Falcao offered his support to Mikel on social media, saying "you are right" and "life is more important than football." Falcao's side will face Besiktas in the Istanbul derby.

Turkish Football @TurkFootballTV

John Obi Mikel says he doesn’t want to play football with the Coronavirus outbreak Radamel Falcao commented that he agrees The Super Lig will however, go on. The games will he played behind closed doors What do you make of all this? https://t.co/wvO08LU6ou

The Super Lig have opted against falling in line with other European leagues and cancelling matches. Per B/R Football, all five of the major leagues on the continent have postponed matches for the foreseeable future:

B/R Football @brfootball

All of Europe's top five leagues have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Football must wait. https://t.co/oj52zMnA7U

Per CNN, there are more than 142,000 global cases of the coronavirus, and in excess of 5,300 people have died.