Christian Atsu was a talented Ghanaian footballer who rose to international fame for his skills on the pitch. Born in 1992, Atsu’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming a professional footballer and playing for clubs like FC Porto, Chelsea, and Newcastle United was a remarkable one. Unfortunately, his life was cut short in 2023, when he went missing in the aftermath of the Turkey-Syria earthquake, and his body was later recovered from the rubble. In this blog, we will take a look at the life of Christian Atsu (from 1992 to 2023), from his childhood in Ghana to his successful career in Europe, highlighting his achievements and legacy in the world of football. We will also reflect on the tragic events that led to his untimely passing and pay tribute to the remarkable player that he was.
The Life of Christian Atsu From 1992 to 2023
1. 10 January 1992: Christian Atsu was born.
2. 2009: Atsu arrived at Porto at the age of 17
3. On 14 May 2011: Atsu was called up by first-team manager André Villas-Boas for a Primeira Liga match against Marítimo, but he did not leave the bench
4. 2011–12: Atsu was sent on loan to fellow league side Rio Ave for the 2011–12 season.
5. 28 August 2011: Atsu made his debut for Rio Ave on 28 August 2011, in a 0-1 home loss against Olhanense.
6. 16 December 2011: Atsu scored his first goal at Estádio da Luz against Benfica in the 24th minute, but the hosts eventually won it 5-1
7. 2012–13: He returned to Porto for the 2012–13 season and started in nine of his league appearances as they won the national championship for the third consecutive time
8. 1 June 2012 – Atsu won his first senior cap for the Ghana national team against Lesotho, scoring in the process.
9. 1 September 2013: Atsu agreed to join Chelsea on a five-year contract, for a reported £3.5 million, being immediately loaned to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, for the rest of the 2013–14 season.
10. 6 October 2013: Atsu made his debut for Vitesse on 6 October 2013 against Feyenoord
11. 2013: Atsu was in the Ghanaian squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
- Atsu started the first match, a 2–2 draw against DR Congo.
- Atsu was a substitute in the following 1–0 win over Mali.
- Atsu 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.
12. 13 August 2014: Atsu joined fellow Premier League club Everton on loan until the end of the 2014–15 season
13. 21 September 2014: Atsu made his debut for Everton on 21 September 2014 against Crystal Palace
14. 2014 – Atsu was selected for the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.
- Atsu started in all the matches as Ghana was eliminated in the group stage.
15. 29 May 2015: Atsu was loaned to newly promoted Premier League team Bournemouth for the upcoming season
16. 2015 – At the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, Atsu scored twice in a 3–0 win over Guinea in the quarter-finals.
- Atsu helped the team to the final, where they lost in a penalty shootout against the Ivory Coast.
- At the end of the tournament, Atsu was awarded both the Player of the Tournament award, as well as the Goal of the Tournament award for his strike against Guinea.
17. 31 August 2016: Atsu joined Newcastle United on a one-year loan deal with an option to buy clause in the contract
18. May 2017: Atsu signed a four-year deal to join Newcastle permanently for £6.2 million from Chelsea
19. 2017: Atsu was named in the Team of the Tournament for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, where Ghana came fourth.
20. 2019 – Atsu was called up for the 2019 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
21. 17 July 2021: Atsu joined Al-Raed
22. 6 September 2022: Atsu signed for Süper Lig team Hatayspor
23. 6 February 2023: Atsu goes missing in the aftermath of the 2023 Turkey-Syria earthquake.
24. 7 February 2023: Club vice-president Mustafa Özat announces that Atsu has been rescued and is recovering in the hospital.
25. 8 February 2023: Manager Volkan Demirel announces that Atsu and sporting director Taner Savut are still missing.
26. 14 February 2023: Atsu’s agent confirms that two pairs of his shoes have been found but Atsu has still not been found.
27. 18 February 2023: Atsu’s agent confirms that his body has been recovered from the rubble of the building he was residing in, and news outlets report his death at approximately 6 a.m. GMT.
28. 18 February 2023: Newcastle United pays tribute to Atsu at their game against Liverpool, holding a minute of applause before the start of the game. Atsu’s widow and their children were in attendance.
Image source: Getty Images