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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 November 2005, 17:42 GMT
Nigeria's Obi denies greed claims
By Osasu Obayiuwana

Where I play should be my decision to take. I hope that Fifa will give me that chance
John Mikel Obi

Nigeria midfielder John Mikel Obi has denied claims that money had any influence in his determination to play for Chelsea.

Obi signed a contract with Manchester United in April but has since claimed that he was forced to sign the contract under duress and wants to play for the English champions instead.

In an interview published in the inaugural edition of New African Soccer magazine, Obi said his determination to play for Chelsea was based purely on football reasons.

"I'm a young kid who is just coming up in football and money is not my first priority," Obi said.

"I know some people think my decisions are based on money but my priority is to play.

"I just want to be happy and be with people that will look after me," Obi said.

While the midfielder was effusive in his praise of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, the teenager insisted he was unwilling to complete a move to Old Trafford.

"Alex Ferguson is one of the top coaches in the world and everyone would like to play there.

"But I have to consider some certain things. Where I want to go and play is the best thing for me."

Fifa's Dispute Resolution Committee is yet to make a ruling on Obi's future, after Lyn Oslo, Obi's present club, and United have asked football's governing body to validate the April transfer.

But Obi hopes Fifa will free him from the contract he says has made his life a misery.

"Where I play should be my decision to take. I hope that Fifa will give me that chance to take my own decision," Obi said.

"Fifa knows that I am a kid coming up and where I decide to play is one of the most difficult decisions to take in my life.

"I know they want the best for every kid coming up and I believe I will be given my chance to go where I want," Obi said.


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