A CHELSEA Premier League and Champions League winner joked that he has spent the last 12 months "chilling and drinking beer" since hanging up his boots.
John Obi Mikel, 36, retired in September 2022 after a short stint with Kuwait Sporting Club that saw him mutually terminate his contract after just four months and only two matches.
The Nigerian spent 11 years at Stamford Bridge, helping Chelsea win two Premier League titles, the 2012 Champions League, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Europa League.
He left west London in 2017, before spells with Middlesbrough and Stoke City in between stops in China and Turkey.
The midfielder, who played almost 400 games in Blue, was in jovial mood after starring in a 4-0 win for a Chelsea Legends XI against Bayern Munich, played to raise money in honour of former player-manager Gianluca Vialli.
Having already joked that owner Todd Boehly and manager Mauricio Pochettino needed to "bring back" his generation to help Chelsea improve, Mikel was in an equally cheery mood when SunSport asked how he had been spending his retirement.
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He laughed: "Me? Just chilling and drinking beer!"
Super-fit Mikel was one of the stars of the show at Stamford Bridge as Michael Essien, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Tiago Mendes all got on the scoresheet for the Blues.
Another former team-mate, Ramires, was also spotted sporting a new look at the game, which drew a huge crowd and some of Chelsea's biggest heroes.
Speaking after the game, Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola – who only played seven minutes but rolled back the years with a delightful scooped pass – paid tribute to Vialli, his great friend and former team-mate.
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Zola, 57, said: "We were all very emotional [tonight] because he went through a lot of suffering, a lot of pain – him and his family.
"So one thing that struck me the most is the way he faced the whole process, all the pain, with great dignity. He was strong and charismatic."
The Italian, one of Chelsea's greatest-ever players, also had his say on the current squad, with Poch's side back in action at Bournemouth on Sunday.
He added: "Chelsea had a long and difficult season last year and this season there are still problems.
"Again, I have total faith in the coach, but they are a very young team and he will have to make a team. He has all the tools to do that.
"[Finishing] top four… it's a tough one. Nowadays in England with the teams around them, it will be tough, but I think the key will be to make a team quickly.
"They have potential but if you don't have [togetherness] it's difficult. They have a lot of new players, they need to hurry up."
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