January 24, 2019 / 12:29 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer: Middlesbrough sign free agent Obi Mikel on short-term deal

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group D - Nigeria vs Argentina - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 26, 2018 Nigeria's John Obi Mikel gestures REUTERS/Henry Romero

(Reuters) - Middlesbrough have signed former Nigeria and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel on a short-term deal, the Championship (second-tier) club said on Thursday.

The 31-year-old arrives at the Riverside Stadium as a free agent after leaving China’s Tianjin Teda at the end of the Chinese Super League season in November.

Obi Mikel rose to prominence during an 11-year stint with Chelsea, winning two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012.

He also won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 playing for Nigeria in an international career that has spanned 12 years and 85 appearances including two World Cups.

“I’m pleased to get him in. He is a man with a lot of experience and quality,” Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis said in a statement.

“He has a winning mentality and he wants to be here to be a part of what we are looking to achieve.”

Mikel becomes Pulis’ second signing of the January window, following the arrival of Rajiv van La Parra on loan from Huddersfield Town.

Middlesbrough, who are bidding to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2016-17, are currently fifth in the Championship table.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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