Just in the past couple hours, Mikel John Obi has confirmed that he's leaving Chelsea after eleven years and 372-374 appearances to his name. The numbers seem to disagree depending on where you look — I'm sure this will be clarified eventually — but either way, he's either 15th or 16th all-time in appearances for the club. Rarified air.
Mikel was known for many things, least of which was scoring goals. But that just makes the six that he did score all the more special. Every single one of the six was a work of art and a sign that somewhere out there, the planets and the moons and the stars aligned. He saved all but one of them for an FA Cup or European night, when they most mattered.
All jokes aside, Mikel has been a key player for no less than eight managers (two of them twice!), a solid, steady, strong presence in the middle of the Chelsea pitch for a decade. Whether as a starter, a sub, or a human final whistle, Mikel proved time and time again just how important he was to the team. Two Premier League titles, two European trophies, and six domestic cups (four-time winner of the FA Cup!) speak for themselves.
I'm sure we will meet again someday.