Former Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu remains missing after being caught up in the devastating earthquake that rocked the Turkey and Syrian border region on Monday.
There have been conflicting reports about the 31-year-old’s status after the earthquake struck Antakya – the city which Atsu’s Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor is based in south-eastern Turkey.
Latest reports indicate at least 3800 people have died in the disaster, with the death toll expected to rise considerably over the next few days.
Is Christian Atsu missing after the Turkey-Syria earthquake?
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There has been no official word on Atsu’s whereabouts since the earthquake hit Antakya on Monday, with the Ghanaian international still missing.
Initially, Portuguese outlet A Bola reported that the Ghanaian international had been ‘found alive’ and ‘was in hospital with injuries to his right foot and breathing difficulties’ after being trapped under rubble following the disaster.
However, this report remains unconfirmed and several others since, including social media posts from Atsu’s teammates have provided news to the contrary.
Atsu’s Hataypor teammate Kerim Alici posted an Instagram story at 7:26pm (GMT) which indicates Atsu and Hatayspor sporting director Taner Savut were trapped under wreckage at an apartment block, signing the caption off with ‘we want help’.
According to ESPN, Hatayspor spokesman Mustafa Ozat was quoted by Turkish media as saying, ‘Christian Atsu and Taner Savut are still under the rubble’.
GOAL have also claimed honorary Hatayspor president Lutfu Savas released a statement confirming Atsu is still missing.
“The search and rescue efforts for Atsu are unfortunately continuing,” Savas reportedly said.
Where did the earthquake strike and what strength was it?
The first earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale struck at 4:17am local on Monday morning in the Turkish province of Gaziantep.
An aftershock registering 7.5 hit the region again about nine hours later – only around 80km from the first quake.
South-eastern Turkey and northern Syria, including Aleppo, have been most-affected by the disaster so far.
Shocks were felt as far away as Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel.
Christian Atsu’s football career
Atsu currently plays for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor and scored the winning goal after coming off the bench in Sunday’s 1-0 win against Kasimpasa.
Important win for the team
Happy to be on the scoresheet 🙏 @hatayspor pic.twitter.com/eMhlS0JGWr
— Christian Atsu (@ChristianAtsu20) February 5, 2023
It was his first goal for the club after joining in September last year from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Raed.
After coming through Porto’s youth academy as a junior, Atsu joined Chelsea in 2013 but never played a game for the English powerhouse and was loaned out to five clubs, before he joined Newcastle in 2017 after a loan period the season before.
Atsu spent five seasons at Newcastle, scoring eight goals and creating 10 assists in 121 appearances.
The winger has 65 caps and nine goals for Ghana between 2012 and 2019 – playing in all three of his nation’s matches at World Cup 2014.