Mubarak Wakasu, former team mate and friend of deceased Ghanaian international, Christian Atsu, has described him as his “everyday guy.”
A farewell ceremony is currently underway at the forecourt of the State House in Accra, for the former Ghanaian international, today, Friday, 17 March 2023.
In his tribute, the former Black Stars player noted: “It’s so difficult for me to express in words how I am feeling. Since hearing about the earthquake on 6th February, I had hope that you were still alive. I never believed that this hope would turn into sadness.”
He continued: “You were my everyday guy, my friend, my brother. We played together, we laughed together, we ate together. You were someone who I trusted in everything because in a good or bad situation you [were] always there for me.
“I have been here just looking at our pictures, reading our messages, watching our videos. All I have now is the memories in which I will cherish forever,” the footballer added.
Atsu’s remains will be interned in his hometown, Ada.
Atsu is one of over 46,000 people that died in an earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
Atsu was a professional footballer who primarily played as a winger, although he was also deployed as an attacking midfielder or left back.
Atsu began his international career with FC 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, AFC 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.