Saturday, 18 February 2023, 11:18
After a harrowing 13-day search, following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake which has claimed thousands of victims in southern Turkey and northern Syria, the lifeless body of former Malaga CF, Chelsea and Newcastle winger Christian Atsu has been recovered from the rubble. The hopes of finding him alive were already minimal and this Saturday morning, 18 February his death was confirmed.
The body of the 31-year-old Ghanaian was located among the debris of the block of flats where he lived in the Turkish city of Hatay, after recently joining the First Division club Hatayspor in the country.
The information has been confirmed by his representative, Nana Sechere: “With the greatest regret I have to announce to all supporters that, unfortunately, the body of Christian (Atsu) was recovered this morning. My condolences to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for his prayers and support. And I ask that while we make the necessary arrangements, you all respect the privacy of the family during this very difficult time."
The discovery ends a harrowing period of almost two weeks where confusion reigned around Atsu's whereabouts. His current club, Hatayspor, initially reported that he had been rescued and taken to a hospital, but when they went to look for him they said there had been a terrible mix-up. This Saturday morning 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”.
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.Hatayspor (@Hatayspor_FK) February 18, 2023
REST in PEACE ATSU
Atsu played for Malaga CF on loan in the second half of the 2015-16 season. After an unsuccessful loan spell with English side Bournemouth in the first half of that season, Atsu arrived on the Costa del Sol from parent club Chelsea and scored two goals (one on his debut at La Rosaleda) in 12 appearances.
Lamentamos profundamente el fallecimiento de Christian Atsu, jugador del #MálagaCF durante la temporada 15/16.Málaga CF (@MalagaCF) February 18, 2023
Un abrazo muy fuerte para la familia, amigos y compañeros de su club, el @Hatayspor_FK.
Descansa en paz, Christian. pic.twitter.com/VPDaiXFrZh
After that, the winger spent five seasons with Newcastle (helping them to Premier League promotion), before moving to Al Raed in Saudi Arabia and then, most recently, Hatayspor last summer.
Just hours before the earthquake, he scored the winning goal in the 97th minute for Hatayspor against Kasımpaşa.
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