LIKE PELE, ANOTHER NUMBER 10, MIKEL RETIRES ON A JULY 18 DATE

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

It may have been a sheer coincident. The man who made the shirt number 10 popular in football, the legendary Pele, announced his retirement on a July 18 date in 1971.

It is that same date 48 years later that Super Eagles’ number 10 man, Mikel Obi is retiring from international football.

Mikel Obi

The only difference is that Pele’s retirement was a befitting ceremony as more than 180,000 emotional supporters reportedly packed the stadium to watch Pele wear the Brazilian colours for the last time in Brazil’s 2-2 draw with the then Yugoslavia.

After the final whistle ‘Pele, The King of Football’ thanked his supporters and did one last lap of honour as the huge crowd chanted “fica, fica” (stay).

 Pele made the jersey number 10 popular. There have been many other legendary footballers who wore the shirt. Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Austin Jay Jay Okocha and lately, Mikel Obi are some of those star footballers.