Atsu Christian

Christian Atsu Twasam was a Ghanaian professional footballer who primarily played as a winger, although he was deployed as an attacking midfielder or left back. Atsu began his career with Porto, also spending a season on loan at Rio Ave. In 2013, he was signed by Chelsea for £3.5 million, who subsequently loaned him to Vitesse Arnhem, Everton, Bournemouth and Málaga. After spending the 2016–17 season on loan at Newcastle United, he completed a permanent transfer to the club in May 2017. Following the end of his four-year contract he played for Al Raed in Saudi Arabia and Hatayspor in Turkey, where he died in the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake at age 31. A full international with 65 caps from 2012 to 2019, Atsu represented Ghana at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. He helped the team finish as runners-up at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, in which he also won Player of the Tournament and Goal of the Tournament. Atsu was born in Ada Foah, Greater Accra Region. He grew up in extreme poverty. He was one of ten siblings, including his twin sister, while his father was a fisherman and farmer on the banks of the Volta River. Atsu spent a portion of his education at the Feyenoord Football Academy in Gomoa Fetteh, in the Central Region of Ghana and later attended the West African Football Academy at Sogakope, in the Volta Region of Ghana. He later moved to join Cheetah FC, a club based in Kasoa.



Match Worn Shirt

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This shirt was worn by Christian Atsu during a Premier League game of the season 2017/2018. The shirt was worn by the player and it was auctioned by the Club itself to raise funds for its charity Foundation. On 31 August 2016, Atsu joined Newcastle United on a one-year loan deal with an option to buy clause in the contract. On 13 September, his debut for the club came on as a substitute for Yoan Gouffran in the 61st minute in a 6–0 away victory against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, where he provided the assist to Aleksandar Mitrović to earn their fifth goal. Atsu scored his first goal for the club in a 1–0 win against Rotherham United on 1 October, followed by further goals against Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic. In May 2017, Atsu signed a four-year deal to join Newcastle permanently for £6.2 million from Chelsea. He was released at its conclusion.

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Atsu won his first senior cap for the Ghana national team on 1 June 2012 against Lesotho, scoring in the process. He was described by the BBC as an “excellent prospect”, whilst ESPN added he was “quick and technically impressive”, and a potential future star for his national team. The following year, he was in the Ghanaian squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. He started the first match, a 2–2 draw against the DR Congo, and was a substitute in the following 1–0 win over Mali. He returned to the starting line-up in the last group match against Niger in Port Elizabeth, scoring the second goal of a 3–0 win which put his country into the quarter-finals as group winners. Atsu featured in the rest of Ghana’s matches as they came fourth, scoring in their penalty shootout elimination by Burkina Faso. s selected for the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, starting in all the matches as Ghana were eliminated in the group stage. At the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Atsu scored twice in a 3–0 win over Guinea in the quarter-finals. He helped the team to the final, where they lost in a penalty shootout against the Ivory Coast. At the end of the tournament, he was awarded with both the Player of the Tournament award, as well as the Goal of the Tournament award for his strike against Guinea. Atsu was also named in the Team of the Tournament for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, where Ghana came fourth. He was called up for the 2019 edition in Egypt. Atsu was a devout Christian who shared Bible verses on social media. Described by The Guardian obituary writer Louise Taylor as “a true Christian in every sense of the word”, he was active in charity, being an ambassador for Arms Around the Child, an organisation supporting disadvantaged children; he also paid thousands of pounds of bail money to free Ghanaians who had been jailed for stealing food. Atsu was married to author Marie-Claire Rupio with whom he had two sons and a daughter. On 6 February 2023, Atsu went missing in the immediate aftermath of the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake; he was feared to be among those trapped under the rubble of Hatayspor’s headquarters in Antakya following the quake. Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake, but Hatayspor’s manager said he stayed with the club after scoring the winning goal in a 5 February match. On 7 February, club vice-president Mustafa Özat said Atsu had been rescued and was recovering in hospital, while on 8 February manager Volkan Demirel said that Atsu and sporting director Taner Savut were still missing. On 14 February, Atsu’s agent confirmed two pairs of his shoes had been found, but that Atsu himself had still not been found. On 18 February, confirmation was received by his agent that his body was recovered from the rubble of the building he was residing in. News outlets reported his death at approximately 6 a.m. GMT. Atsu’s former club Newcastle United paid tribute to him at their game against Liverpool on 18 February. Prior to the start of the game, a minute of applause was held before the start of the game. Atsu’s widow and their children were in attendance. The tribute was also made at other Premier League games that occurred over the weekend. The Premier League’s Twitter account tweeted: “We are deeply saddened by the news Christian Atsu lost his life in the devastation of the earthquakes that have hit Turkey and Syria. Our thoughts and condolences are with Christian’s family and friends and everyone affected by this tragic event”. His body was flown from Turkey to his family in Ghana on 20 February. Vice President of Ghana Mahamudu Bawumia spoke at his funeral, and a military procession was held in his honour. A one-week observation was made in honour of Christian Atsu on Saturday, 4 March 2023, at the Adjiringanor AstroTurf in Accra, Ghana. On 17 March 2023, Atsu was accorded a state-assisted funeral at the Forecourt of the State House in Accra before being buried in his hometown, Dogobome in Ada Foah.