The Super Eagles great spent most of his senior career at Stamford Bridge.
John Obi Mikel has selected his favourite coaches during his time at Chelsea and Nigeria.
Mikel joined the Blues from the Norwegian side FK Lyn in 2006. Despite his unglamorous playing style as a defensive midfielder, the Super Eagles star became an instant fan favourite at Chelsea.
Mikel established himself as a regular starter for the Blues under Jose Mourinho. But he has a different pick when it comes to his favourite manager at Chelsea.
“I played under many coaches, but I think De Mateo really understood me,” Mikel told Premium Times.
“He gave me the freedom to play and be who I am on the pitch. Carlo Ancelotti, as well, gave me the licence to do what I want.
“I will go with De Mateo. He brought out the best in me. I definitely enjoyed my time working with him.
“He communicated with me and he was always talking and listening to us and it gave us confidence.”
Mikel played a crucial role in Chelsea’s Champions League-winning campaign of 2011-12. A memorable final against Bayern Munich saw De Mateo’s side claim the Blues’ first-ever UCL title.
When asked about his favourite national team coach, Mikel responded: “For the national team, it’s really easy. It is the Big Boss, Stephen Keshi, may his soul rest in peace.
“I’ve met people, but that man was special. I can’t speak highly of him enough. He was outside and inside the Big Boss.
“He dealt with our problems and when he spoke, people listened and he didn’t have to scream.
Everything was just perfect. During the games, he knew what changes to make. Keshi was always there, screaming.
“He knew exactly what he was doing, and we all bought into what he wanted us to do. We all respected him. For me definitely, he and I had a special connection.”