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Christian Atsu: Legacy of the Ghanaian Footballer a Year On

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The football fraternity was left in shock after Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu was confirmed dead after a devastating earthquake hit Southern Turkey in February 2023. He was missing two weeks after the disaster and with every day passing, friends, family, fans and the football world hoped for the best. 

Atsu was playing for Turkish club Hatayspor and was one of the best Ghanaian footballers. Here’s his legacy.

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Christian Atsu’s Background

Christian Atsu with the ball. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-4.0

The late Atsu was born on 10 January 1992 in Ada Foah, Ghana. He grew up in abject poverty, with his parents doing menial jobs. Atsu had 10 siblings, and they all had to leave school due to fee problems. 

He then developed an interest in football and spent much of his time playing. His brother introduced him to a football club. Unfortunately, despite his parent’s efforts, his family ended up living in an incomplete building. 

As if that wasn’t enough, his father died after he wasn’t able to get treatment. This impacted Atsu and he vowed never to allow the lack of money to affect someone’s life. 

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Professional Career

Atsu’s highlights. Video Credit: NUFC Comps

The former player started his youth career at a Ghanaian football club Feyenoord Fetteh and Cheetah. He then moved to the Portuguese side FC Porto. This is where he also started his senior career. 

After two years with the club, Atsu moved to English Premier League side Chelsea. He played for the club for four years but spent most of the time on loan. Some of the clubs he joined include:

His final loan spell at Newcastle United ended with a permanent transfer, where he played for four years, helping the team get a promotion to the top flight. In the next two years, he joined Saudi club Al Raed and later Hatayspor. 

Unfortunately, this was the club Christian Atsu played for. His last match was on February 5, a day before the fatal earthquake. 

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International Football

Christian Atsu played 65 times for the Black Stars of Ghana. His first came in 2012 against Lesotho. He represented the country at the Africa Cup of Nations and in the FIFA World Cup. 

He was named the Player of the Tournament in the AFCON Finals against Ivory Coast in 2015, a game they lost to penalties. The winger scored nine goals for his country. 

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Funeral Service

Atsu’s body in Ghana. Video Credit: africanews

A lot of speculation and confusion surrounded Atsu’s disappearance with claims he’d been found. However, they all turned out to be false, as his agent Nana Sechere announced that Christian Atsu’s body was eventually found under the rubble. 

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo led the tribute, remembering him as “one of the country’s finest footballers.” The Ghana Football Association sent its deepest condolences to Christian’s family. 

During matches in Europe, players gave a minute’s applause in memory of Atsu. Newcastle manager Eddie Howe described him as a talented and special person. His body was flown back to Accra, Ghana, where he was accorded a state-funded funeral. 

Christian Atsu was a talented player and will always be in the hearts and minds of Ghanaians and football fans. Moreover, the causes he fought for and the values he lived continue to carry his legacy.

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