World football has come together on Saturday to unite in memory of Christian Atsu, whose passing was confirmed this weekend.
Atsu had been missing since the catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Cyprus last Sunday night, and despite hopes that he would be found alive, it has been confirmed this weekend that his body has been found in the rubble.
Admired and respected for his on-field quality and off-field philanthropy, some of football’s most prominent figures have united in tribute to the ex-Chelsea and Newcastle United wideman.
“May the Black Star rest in peace,” wrote Al Ahli head coach Pitso Mosimane, who accompanied his tribute with a photograph of Atsu. “Our heartfelt condolences to the family and everyone in Ghana.”
Nigeria Football Federation
“We are sending our deepest condolences to the family of Ghanaian international Christian Atsu, his friends and our brothers the Ghana FA,” read a statement shared by the Nigerian Football Federation. “May his soul rest in peace.”
It was a touching tribute from the NFF considering the sporting and cultural rivalry between the two West African nations.
“Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of our former player, Christian Atsu,” read a statement from the Premier League giants. “Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”
Chelsea also put a video tribute to Atsu up on the big screen at Stamford Bridge ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game against Southampton, where supporters observed a minute’s applause for the ex-Blues wideman.
“This was not the news we were expecting bro but God knows best,” wrote ex-Ghana skipper Stephen Appiah.
“My condolences to the widow and family of our brother Christian Atsu,” he added. “May he find rest. We will miss you.”
Another Black Stars great, Dede Ayew, played alongside Atsu, and wrote a particularly poignant tribute to his fallen teammate.
“I’m totally devastated,” Ayew wrote. “Christian was a genuine, selfless individual who put smiles on our faces and the many people who encountered him.
“This has really hit me because this was not what I was hoping for. My prayer was that you would be found; but certainly not this way.”
Ayew and Atsu were part of the Ghana side that reached the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2015.
“For all the moments we shared and the support we gave each other, I will forever miss you. May Allah keep you my brother Christian.
“My deepest condolences to Marie-Claire, the kids, your family and loved ones. Fare thee well Champ!”
The Ghana Head of State had previously expressed his hope and optimism that Atsu would be found amidst the rubble of his residence in southern Turkey.
“I extend sincere, heartfelt condolences to the widow, children and family of our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, on the sad news of his death,” read a statement from the presidency. “Ghana football has lost one of its finest personnel and ambassadors, one who will be difficult to replace. “He’ll be sorely missed.”
Ghana legend Baffoe paid tribute to the 31-year-old.
“Gone but never forgotten,” he wrote on social media. “What a genuine God-fearing person…this is so sad.
“My condolences to all the family members, rest well Christian Atsu.”
“We are deeply saddened by today’s news that Christian Atsu has been found dead following the earthquake in Turkey earlier this month,” read a statement from Everton, one of Atsu’s former clubs.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues at Hatayspor and everyone affected by this tragic event that has claimed so many lives.”
“Everyone at Asante Kotoko is saddened by the demise of Christian Atsu,” the Ghanaian giants posted on their official handle. “Our thoughts and prayers goes out to his family and football fraternity.”
Another of Atsu’s former employers paid tribute to their fallen alumni.
“We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes,” read a post on Newcastle’s official handles.
“A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters,” they added. “Rest in peace, Christian.”