Chelsea footballer John Obi Mikel still played in a match against Stoke City yesterday after hearing that his father had been kidnapped in Nigeria.
Michael Obi, who runs a transport company, reportedly failed to return to his home city of Jos after work on Friday and has not been seen or reachable on phone since. No ransom demand has either been made yet.
The abduction comes after a Forbes magazine survey in June named Mikel as the seventh highest-paid African player in Europe.
The magazine listed his salary as £3.5 million a year. He has won the 2009-2010 Premier League title, three FA Cups and one League Cup with Chelsea.
Mikel was told by his new Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas on Saturday night about the situation.
Despite the news he decided to play in the 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium yesterday, where he came close to scoring with a long-range volley that goalkeeper Asmir Begovic tipped over the crossbar.
The player’s agent John Shittu said the 24-year-old midfielder was ‘totally devastated’.
‘It’s been tough for the young man. The family in Jos reported him missing at the police station as expected but we’re taking all necessary measures to find him.
He said: “My family have always lived in Jos. They will know who my father is and who his son is. All I would say to the people who have him is please let him go.
“He is an old man. He has not done any harm to anyone. I am devastated by this situation.
“I have always done my best to help my country, playing for the national team, serving my country.
“Now it is time for my country to help me. Whoever has got him, or whoever knows where he is, please contact me and hopefully he can be released.
Chelsea has also offered its support. ‘We will give Mikel and his family our full support at this most difficult time.’