Christian Atsu has been confirmed dead this morning following the massive earthquake which struck two weeks ago.
The 31-year-old was trapped under rubble just hours after scoring a stunning goal in Turkey for Hatayspor, his 10th senior team.
Despite his struggles in club football, Atsu was able to play in top-flight leagues in Europe for the majority of his career.
After being scouted by Porto during his time at the defunct Feyenoord, now West Africa Football Academy (WAFA), the Portuguese club recruited Atsu in 2009 into their youth team at the age of 17, and it didn’t take long for him to be invited to the first team.
It was difficult to let him go because of his incredible skill set. He did, however, spend a season on loan at Rio Ave, where he made an immediate impact, eventually earning him a place in Porto senior team upon his return.
The arguably biggest move of Atsu’s career was in sight and he grabbed it with both hands. Then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho demanded his service at the end of the 2012/2013 season when he rejoined the then UEFA Europa League champions.
However, Atsu never kicked a ball for the London-based club for four years in a row. He was offered a series of loans before landing regular playing time with another English club, Newcastle United.
With the exclusion of the Magpies, Atsu played on loan for four different teams while he was contracted to Chelsea. Vittese, Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga were all beneficiaries of Atsu’s services when he struggled to make the cut at Chelsea.
When he joined Newcastle in 2017, having already played a season on loan, he played 121 times and contributed to 10 goals.
When Atsu left Newcastle in 2021, he joined Saudi Arabian side Al Raed but got battled with injuries. As a result, he only made 8 appearances in the Saudi Professional League.
In an attempt to relaunch his career, he joined Hatayspor, where he scored his first goal on his fourth appearance, a belter that snatched a win for the side, moments prior to getting trapped under rubble for days, which ultimately claimed his life.
Atsu earned 64 caps for the Black Stars, scoring 10 goals and providing nine assists.
He played an important role in Ghana’s AFCON squads, which finished second in 2015 and fourth in 2017.
He was awarded the best goal for his strike against Guinea in the quarter-finals of the 2015 AFCON. He was also named the competition’s best player.