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The ex-Blues forward has called upon his former team-mate to remain patient as his compatriot did in Manchester, and has said that his time may not be up in west London


EXCLUSIVE

Salomon Kalou believes that  former team-mate John Obi Mikel can make an emphatic return to the Chelsea first-team if he just stays patient, as Yaya Toure has done at Manchester City. 

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Toure was dropped by City after his agent fell out with their new boss, Pep Guardiola, but eventually worked his way back into the first-team and scored twice on his return last week against Crystal Palace. 

Mikel has similarly not played for Chelsea under new boss Conte - the Italian hasn't been able to find the Nigeria captain a place in his side after he left his club's pre-season tour to win a medal at this year's Olympic Games. Kalou, though, believes that Mikel needs to remain calm and he will get his chance or, failing that, a move to another club. 

"He is my dear friend. He has to wait and be patient, that is football," Kalou told Goal. "Patience is the key for him right now.  What I learned in this game is that nothing is guaranteed in football, you can find a move fast, or find yourself back in the team. 

"Like Yaya, he played after not playing for several months and came back and scored two goals. Everything can change from today or tomorrow. Just wait for your moment. I said to Yaya [when he was on the bench]: 'at the end of the day, you have to wait and do your talking on the pitch.' And that’s what he did!"

In Kalou's six years at Chelsea he won every major domestic honour, while he was also part of the squad that won the Champions League in 2012 - the first time in the west London club's history. 

Now 31 years of age, Kalou leads the line of Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, who are looking to compete for the German title, and African Cup of Nations champions Ivory Coast. He regards his countryman Toure as one of the best African players of all time and believes he should look to play his football elsewhere if he drops back out of Guardiola's plans.

"Every club would love to have him, he is a great player, of course," He added. "A player like Yaya Toure will find a club whenever he needs to, I wouldn’t worry about that. If we had the money to get him, I’d say come to Hertha, *Laughs* I’d love to arrange that. 

"My best African player ever? Of all time, I don’t know because there are so many to choose from, but right now, it is [Pierre-Emerick] Aubamayang, for sure. I am a huge fan of Yaya, I have always played with him, I started out with him and I saw always how he looks after himself as a player and he is a player with a brain and that is my kind of player. 

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"He is a player with a brain and sometimes people don't understand that you don’t need to take hundreds of steps per game when you can give one pass and win the game. You can run 300 kilometres and not touch one ball, but he knows how to move around the pitch and do things other people can’t do. He is a genius."

Follow Salomon on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @SalomonKalou and his Foundation @FondationKalou.