March 18, 2020 / 4:06 AM / 19 days ago

Soccer: Mikel leaves Turkish side Trabzonspor over coronavirus fears

(Reuters) - John Obi Mikel has left Turkish side Trabzonspor days after the former Chelsea midfielder said he did not feel comfortable with top-flight games in the country being played despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Super Lig team confirmed in a statement here that the Nigerian, who joined them last year and had a contract until May 2021, had left by mutual consent.

“There is more to life than football,” the 32-year-old had said on Instagram on Saturday.

“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.”

The big five leagues in Europe — England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France — as well as the Champions League and Europa League, have all been suspended, but Turkish league games are going ahead without fans present.

The flu-like virus, which has infected over 190,000 people and killed more than 7,500 around the world, has also forced the postponement of the European Championship and Copa America. It has also affected a host of other international events.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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