Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu has been found dead under the building where he lived in southern Turkey after last week’s massive earthquake, the ex-Chelsea winger’s Turkish agent said.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” Murat Uzunmehmet told reporters in Hatay, where the athlete’s body was found. “Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”
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 Feb. 5 Super Lig match.
The disappearance of Atsu, who had been a member of Turkish club Hatayspor, had shocked the sports world. The 31-year-old Ghanaian has been playing in the country after a long career that had taken him through several of the world’s top leagues. After starring for Porto, he was snapped up by Chelsea and stayed with the London team for four seasons, being sent out on loan to various clubs including Málaga, with whom he came to play in the Spanish top flight. He featured in 12 games and scored 2 goals.
After also playing for another English club, Newcastle United, as well as in Saudi football, he ended up in Turkey to join the ranks of Hatayspor, with whom he scored one goal in three games. In addition to club level, Atsu was heavily involved with the Ghana national team. He played 65 games for his country and scored nine goals, and was part of the team that was in the 2013 and 2015 African Cups, and also the 2014 World Cup.
Turkey was on high alert over the news of Atsu’s disappearance. A few days after the disaster some information came out to say that he had been found safe and well, but that was later denied by those responsible at his club.
Friday’s confirmation by the player’s agent is another tragedy for a country that has suffered one of the greatest in its history with an earthquake that has already left more than 40,000 dead across Turkey and Syria.