Tributes pour in for late Ghana star Christian Atsu

Ghanaians, Newcastle United and Chelsea have led the footballing world’s tributes to Christian Atsu after the former player was found dead following the devastating earthquake in southern Turkey.

The 31-year-old’s lifeless body was pulled from the rubble in Turkey after a relentless search by his agent, Nana Sechere and some of his family members.

Atsu had been missing since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Turkey in the early hours of Monday, February 6.

In his final game, the night before the quake struck, Atsu scored a wonderful last-minute winner from a free-kick for Hatayspor.

Before making the move to Turkey, Atsu had been at Porto, Rio Ave, Chelsea, Vitesse, Bournemouth, Everton, Newcastle, Malaga, Al-Raed and Manaus.

He also featured 65 times for Ghana’s Black Stars, scoring nine goals.

Atsu’s club Hatayspor called him ‘a beautiful person’, saying there were ‘no words to describe our sadness’.

‘The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the collapse, is on his way to be sent to his hometown Ghana,’ they said on Twitter – as they blacked out their profile picture.

‘We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness. Rest in peace.

Atsu’s former club Everton were among the first Premier League sides to pay tribute.

‘We are deeply saddened by today’s news that Christian Atsu has been found dead following the earthquake in Turkey earlier this month,’ they said.

‘Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues at Hatayspor and everyone affected by this tragic event that has claimed so many lives.’

Newcastle United – where Atsu spent four years of his career – said Atsu would be ‘fondly remembered’ by everyone at the club.

‘We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes,’ they said on social media.

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

Chelsea – Atsu’s first Premier League club – said: ‘Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of our former player, Christian Atsu. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.