Turkey Earthquake: Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu found dead


Former Chelsea and Newcastle winger Christian Atsu has been found dead under the rubble of the building where he lived, days after the earthquake which has killed over 45,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Atsu’s agent, Nana Sechere, has confirmed the death of the 31-year-old player.

Sechere tweeted: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well-wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.

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

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

Atsu was playing for Turkish side Hatayspor and hours before the February 6 earthquake, he scored a spectacular 97th-minute free kick in their 1-0 win over Kasimpasa in the Turkish Super Lig on 5 February.

News site Goal reported that Christian Atsu was set to leave Turkey but cancelled his plane ticket shortly before the earthquake.

Hatayspor Administrative Manager Fatih Ilek told local media: “Christian Atsu told the coach that he wanted to take more time before our match with Gaziantep FK. ‘Can I leave if I find a team?’ he said. Volkan Demirel also accepted this request.

“He didn’t play against Gaziantep FK, but scored a last-minute goal in the Kasımpasa match. Actually, he was going abroad to visit his family. But when he played well and scored, he cancelled his ticket. The earthquake happened on his happiest day. He had a flight at 11 pm. Cancelled the ticket. There was an earthquake at 4 am. Absolutely a tragedy.”

The former Porto, Chelsea, Newcastle United, Everton and Bournemouth player made 65 appearances for Ghana, 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.

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