John Obi Mikel says he has no plans to return to Trabzonspor after walking out on the club over their handling of the coronavirus situation.
The former Nigeria international posted on Instagram last week, making his views clear that Turkish football should not be continuing as Covid-19 spreads.
Mikel had since had his contract at the club cancelled, and returned to his family home near his former club, Chelsea.
“They [the club] were really upset about the whole thing,” Mikel told The Athletic .
“I was told to meet with the president in his office one-on-one. He asked me to take [the post] down. I told him I wasn’t going to do that.
“It’s my opinion. This is how I feel. We live in a free world. I have freedom of speech. I can express my opinion.
“I wanted to win the league too but at this point in time we have to think about what is more important: to save peoples’ lives.
“I want to help in any way that I can to defeat this virus. For us to be out there playing; I don’t think we are helping the global situation. I don’t feel it is right for us to play football.
“UEFA have postponed football. How come they are still playing in Turkey? It’s not right at all. But Trabzonspor were not having it — for me, they don’t care."
Mikel also says his family were key in his decision to return to England. His wife and twin daughters had remained there while he played in Turkey, having joined from a spell in the Championship with Middlesbrough in the summer of 2019.
“I explained to the club that I needed to see and be with my kids,” he added.
“They were calling me every single morning, crying on the phone, wondering why their friends were not coming over for playdates, why they can’t touch anyone on the street.
“I knew if I came home, they’d be relaxed because they’d then know Daddy was home.
“I told the club, ‘OK, if that’s what you’re saying, I’m ready to give up my contract. To be with my family, to help the world to do the right thing — everybody needs to stay at home at this point in time.’
“Go back to Trabzonspor? No chance.
“Not with the way they have dealt with this situation.
“We have to look at ourselves sometimes in life and ask what is more important? Who do I want to be friends with? When I’m in trouble, who is going to look after me?
“And, the way they have dealt with this, I don’t see myself going back to Trabzonspor again.”