Christian Atsu, a Premier League footballer, was found dead in Turkey beneath a pile of rubble. He was killed by one of the two recent earthquakes that have recently devastated parts of Turkey and Syria.
Atsu’s body was recovered by a rescue team from the ruins of a luxury building that had collapsed during the earthquake. The footballer had been living in Turkey since September last year when he started playing for the Turkish club Hatayspor.
Atsu’s remains will be returned to Ghana, where he was born. He reportedly scored the winning goal of a 1-0 game, just hours before he was killed in the earthquake.
Footballer found dead after Turkey earthquake
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. At the moment, his belongings are still being removed,” Atu’s talent manager Murat Uzunmehmet told the private news agency DHA.
The footballer, who was just 31 years old, was found dead beneath the rubble of the 12-story luxury building where he lived in the city of Antakya, Hatay province. The city was among those worst affected by the earthquakes.
Atsu joined the Turkish football club Hatayspor in September 2022. During his time playing for Hatayspor, he played three games in the Süper Lig and one game in the Turkish Cup. He signed an initial contract of one year with an option to extend it by another.
The news of the footballer’s death was received with sadness in both Turkey and Ghana.
“The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the rubble ( debris), is on his way to be sent to his hometown, Ghana. We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness.
REST in PEACE ATSU,” Hatayspor wrote on Twitter.
The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the rubble ( debris), is on his way to be sent to his hometown, Ghana. We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness.
REST in PEACE ATSU
— Hatayspor (@Hatayspor_FK) February 18, 2023
The President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo also responded to the death of Atsu on social media. “Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. He’ll be sorely missed,” the president tweeted.
I extend sincere, heartfelt condolences to the widow, children and family of our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, on the sad news of his death. Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. He’ll be sorely missed. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/CqTkEsY4Op
— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) February 18, 2023
Atsu played for several other football teams before his time in Turkey. He started his career playing for the Portuguese teams Porto and Rio Ave between 2011 and 2013.
In 2012, Atsu signed a five-year contract with the English football team Chelsea. The team immediately loaned him to Vitesse Arnhem, before subsequent loans to Everton, Bournemouth, and Málaga.
In August 2016, he was loaned to Newcastle United. The following year Atsu signed a four-year deal to join Newcastle permanently for £6.2 million from Chelsea.
In 2021, he joined the Saudi football team Al-Raed. However, he was only able to play eight games for the club due to problems with injuries. Then, in September 2022, the footballer joined Hatayspor and relocated to Turkey.