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Turkey earthquake:Christian Atsu found dead

Turkey earthquake:Christian Atsu found dead

Former Chelsea star Christian Atsu has been found dead following the devastating earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria last week.

The 31-year-old had been missing since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took place in the early hours of the morning of February 6 – but one of his agents has now confirmed his body had been discovered under the rubble.

Murat Uzunmehmet revealed the devastating news – 12 days since the disaster struck, telling reporters on Saturday: ‘Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.’

Another of Atsu’s agents – Nana Sechere – also announced the news.

‘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,’ he said.

‘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.’

‘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.

There were hopes the former winger had been rescued after the disaster first unfolded, but Hatayspor and agent Sechere had revealed over the past week that these claims were untrue.

Several search and rescue operations in the debris of the building where Atsu and Hatayspor’s sporting director Taner Savut lived, took place – with Savut also missing.

Turkey earthquake:Christian Atsu found dead
Turkey earthquake:Christian Atsu found dead

Atsu had been in Turkey since he joined Hatayspor in Septmber last year after leaving Al-Raed

CHRISTIAN ATSU

Born: January 10, 1992, Ada Foah, Ghana

Clubs

Porto: 2011-2013

Rio Ave (loan): 2011-2012

Chelsea: 2013-2017

Vitesse (loan): 2013-14

Everton (loan): 2014-15

Bournemouth (loan): 2015-16

Malaga (loan): 2016

Newcastle (loan): 2016-17

Newcastle (permanent): 2017-2021

Al-Raed: 2021-22

Hatayspor: 2022-23

Sechere explained on Tuesday how Atsu’s exact ‘room location’ and even two pairs of his shoes had been located.

More than 42,000 people have been killed and thousands more injured in the earthquake, while millions have been left homeless.

Tremors from the deadly quake – which lasted about a minute and could be Turkey’s largest ever – were felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon and the island of Cyprus.

Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake, but Hatayspor’s manager said on Friday the Ghanaian opted to stay with the club after scoring the game-winning goal in a Super Lig match on February 5.

Atsu enjoyed an extremely impressive football career after he broke through with Portuguese giants Porto.

His exploits in Portugal – which also included a loan spell at Rio Ave – led to Atsu earning a move to Chelsea.

He spent five years at Stamford Bridge but never actually made an appearance for the first team as he spent temporary spells away from the club with Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, Bournemouth, Malaga and Newcastle, before he made a permanent move to the Magpies in 2016.

He was promoted to the Premier League with the club during the 2016-17 season under Rafa Benitez and he made 121 appearances in total over five years.

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