DESOLATION. The Ghanaian international of Turkish club Hatayspor was found dead on Saturday under the rubble of the building where he lived in Hatay.
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Pust two weeks after the earthquake that hit southern Turkey on February 6, what we feared has been confirmed. “Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. We take our stuff out again. His phone was also found,” said Murat Uzunmehmet, his agent in Turkey, quoted by the Turkish private agency DHA. This puts an end to a heavy period of worry and research for the relatives of the 31-year-old footballer.
Confirmation of player death from multiple sources
“It is with a heavy heart that I must announce to all […] that the body of Christian Atsu was found this morning”, for his part indicated on his Twitter account Nana Sechere, the Ghanaian agent of Atsu. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support,” he added. According to Turkish media, the former Chelsea and Newcastle player in England was discovered under the rubble of the Rönesans residence, a 12-storey tower that collapsed in the earthquake. “The Ghanaian Embassy in Turkey, which transmitted the sad news, indicates that the body was found early this morning,” said the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement. “Christian Atsu’s older brother, twin daughter and an embassy attaché were present at the site when the body was recovered,” the text said. The Ghanaian Embassy in Turkey and the Ghana Football Association initially claimed that the striker was found alive 24 hours after the earthquake, but this information was later proven to be false. The developer of the luxury residence turned into a ruin, where 800 people are believed to be buried, was arrested last week as he tried to leave Turkey. The earthquake, followed by powerful aftershocks, killed more than 40,000 people in Turkey and Syria, according to the latest official reports released on Friday, also leaving thousands injured and homeless in the freezing cold.
Christian Atsu, a Black Star passed by many clubs
In the Ghana national team, Atsu, who is also involved in several charitable actions, will have had a really well-accomplished career. This is how he was selected to represent his country in four editions of the African Cup of Nations. To begin with, he traveled to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where the Black Stars were eliminated in the first round. Holder in the final in 2015 against Côte d’Ivoire but replaced in extra time, just before the Homeric penalty shootout lost by his team, Christian Atsu had also been named best player of CAN 2015. He was also selected in the typical team of the CAN in 2017. The sign of performances which could justify that he attracted the attention of European clubs but also Asian.
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Christian Atsu was recruited last September by the Turkish club Hatayspor, based in the province of Hatay (South), near the epicenter of the violent earthquake which struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, far from Ghana, where he had grown up in a family of ten children. Trained in his native country in an academy of the Dutch club Feyenoord, the small 1.65m winger, who arrived at the age of 17 in Europe in 2011 at FC Porto, had quickly won over some of the biggest teams on the continent, arousing by his liveliness ball at the foot of comparisons with Lionel Messi. It was Chelsea who finally lured him in 2013, but the London club immediately sent him on loan to Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands.
Then tossed from club to club, Atsu, passed without convincing by Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga, will not finally play any official match under the colors of the Blues. Loaned in 2016 to Newcastle, he was transferred there the following year for nearly 8 million euros. He scored only three goals in four seasons with the Magpies, before going into exile in Saudi Arabia by joining the team of Al-Raed, then Hatayaspor. Several of his former clubs, including Porto, Chelsea and Newcastle, paid tribute to him on Saturday morning in a press release. Atsu leaves behind a widow and three orphaned children.