Ghanaian soccer player Christian Atsu, 31, was found dead in southern Turkey under the rubble of the building where he lived, following last week’s massacre. great earthquakehis agent and his Turkish club said on Saturday.
The former Premier League player, who joined Turkish club Hatayspor last year, has been missing since the February 6 earthquake that devastated southern Turkey and northwestern Syria.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” agent Murat Uzunmehmet told reporters in Hatay.
“Currently, many other items are still being released. His phone was also found.”
Search teams found Atsu’s body in the rubble of Ronesans Residence, a luxury 12-story building where he used to live, in the city of Antakya in Hatay province.
According to state news agency Anadolu, the building’s contractor was arrested at Istanbul airport last week while apparently trying to leave the country for Montenegro.
The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who perished under the rubble (rubble), is en route to his native Ghana. We won’t forget you, Atsu. Peace to you, beauty. There are no words to describe our sadness.
Rest in Peace ATSU
– Hatayspor (@Hatayspor_FK) February 18, 2023
Atsu was scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake, but Hatayspor’s manager said on Friday that the Ghanaian chose to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal. decided in a Super Lig match on February 5.
Ghana’s foreign ministry said it had “received unfortunate news”.
“Christian Atsu’s twin brother and sister and an (Ghanaian) embassy official were at the scene when the body was found,” the ministry said in a statement.
Atsu joined Hatayspor last September after playing for Premier League clubs Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle United.
had initial report that Atsu was rescued the day after the earthquake, but these turned out to be false.
‘We won’t forget you’
Tributes to Atsu on social media, including heartfelt messages from his former clubs.
“We won’t forget you, Atsu. Peace to you, beauty. There are no words to express our sadness,” Hatayspor wrote on Twitter.
Newcastle described him as “a talented player and special person, who will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters”.
Atsu made 65 caps for Ghana and helped them reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final, where they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties. The last time he was selected to play for Ghana was in 2019.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his wife and children, family, loved ones and the football community,” the Ghana Football Association said.
Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is saddened to hear of the tragic passing of our former player, Christian Atsu. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 18, 2023
He joined Chelsea from Porto in 2013 and has had a number of loan spells at clubs including Vitesse and Bournemouth.
“Chelsea sends our sincere condolences to Christian’s family and friends and all those affected by the earthquake tragedy,” the London club said in a statement.
Everton also released a statement on Twitter, saying the club were “deeply saddened” by the news of Atsu’s death.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues at Hatayspor and all those affected by this tragic event that has claimed so many lives,” they said.
More than 45,000 people were killed in earthquakes has hit Turkey and Syria, and the toll is expected to rise further with some 264,000 apartments in Turkey destroyed and many still missing.