TOUCHING STORY; Newcastle player sported dead

The ex-Chelsea and Newcastle winger, 31, had been scheduled to fly out of Turkey on the day of the earthquake, which has now killed more than 45,000 people.

The ex-Chelsea and Newcastle winger, 31, had been scheduled to fly out of Turkey on the day of the earthquake, which has now killed more than 45,000 people.

“I ask that whilst we make the necessary arrangements, that everyone would please respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time.”

Ghana’s foreign ministry confirmed in a statement that it received the “unfortunate news” and that “necessary arrangements with the assistance of the Government of Turkey” were being made to transport the footballer’s body to his home country.

Atsu spent eight years signed to Premier League clubs including Chelsea, Bournemouth, Everton and Newcastle.

He was signed by Chelsea in 2013 before being sent on loan to Dutch club Vitesse.

The winger played for Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle during loan spells from Stamford Bridge. The 31-year-old ended his Premier League career having made 121 appearances.

Atsu became a fan favourite on Tyneside, making 107 appearances between 2016 and 2021 and scoring eight goals.

He moved to Newcastle from Chelsea on a permanent deal for £6.2m in 2017.

The club tweeted: “We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes.

“A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters. Rest in peace, Christian.”

Chelsea FC wrote: “It is with enormous sadness that Chelsea Football Club receives the news that Christian Atsu is confirmed as one of the many victims of the dreadful earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

“Chelsea sends our heartfelt condolences to Christian’s family and friends and to all those affected by the earthquake tragedy.”

Avram Grant, who was his international manager with Ghana from 2014 to 2017, told Sky News was “one of my favourite players”.

“He was a lovely, lovely person. Always smiling, always happy, always a positive attitude.”

Atsu enjoyed a decorated career at international level, making 65 appearances for Ghana and scoring nine times.

He represented the West African nation at the 2014 World Cup and was named player of the tournament at the 2015 African Cup of Nations, in which Ghana were finalists.

His Turkey-based agent, Murat Uzunmehmet, told reporters that Atsu player was found beneath the rubble of his home in southern Turkey.

Atsu is survived by wife Marie-Claire Rupio Atsu and their three children. The footballer will now be flown home to be buried in his home country.

Atsu was scheduled to leave Turkey just hours before the earthquake, having agreed to join a new club in France.Christian Atsu in 2018. Pic: Cal Sport Media via AP

But he chose to stay after scoring a stoppage-time winner in Hatayspor’s Super Lig match against Kasimpasa on the day of the earthquake.

Atsu moved to Turkey last September, signing for the Antakya side on a one-year contract.

He lived in the southern Turkish city with Hatayspor’s sporting director Taner Savut, who is still missing.

The club tweeted: “We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness. Rest in peace.”

Atsu was also celebrated for his charity work, particularly with child trafficking charity Arms Around the Child, where he was a global ambassador.

He helped build an orphanage, Becky’s Home, in Ghana. Atsu regularly visited the centre and met the children there, Arms Around the Child executive director Ellie Milner said.

The footballer also paid a 62-year-old woman’s police fine for possessing cannabis, which spared her a ten-year prison sentence, according to Ghanaian sports journalist Owuraku Ampofo.

Ampofo also told Sky News: “It’s still going to be the same world, but in the end it’s going to be a little emptier because we’re not going to have a wonderful soul like Christian Atsu around.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.