Christian Atsu’s football journey from Gomoa Fetteh to Europe

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Black Stars' Christian Atsu reportedly missing after earthquake in Turkey

Christian Atsu’s football journey from Gomoa Fetteh to Europe.

Christian Atsu was confirmed dead yesterday morning following the massive earthquake that struck two weeks ago.

The 31-year-old was trapped under rubble just hours after scoring a sensational goal for Hatayspor, his tenth professional club, in Turkey.

Atsu was able to play for the majority of his career in Europe’s best leagues despite his difficulties in club football.

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Christian Atsu’s football journey: from Fetteh Feyenoord to Europe

Atsu was signed by Porto in 2009 at the age of 17 after the Portuguese club spotted him while he was playing for the defunct Feyenoord, now known as West Africa Football Academy (WAFA). It didn’t take long for Atsu to be invited to the first squad.

His excellent skill set made it difficult to let him leave. Nonetheless, he did spend a season on loan at Rio Ave, where he had a significant impact right away and ultimately earned a spot in the Porto senior team upon his return.

Atsu saw his chance to make what might have been the biggest move of his career and seized it with both hands.

Then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho demanded his services at the end of the 2012/13 season when he rejoined the then-UEFA Europa League champions.

Atsu, though, went four years without kicking a ball for the London-based side.
Before receiving significant playing time at Newcastle United, another English team, he was offered a number of loans.

Christian Atsu played on loan for four separate teams while under contract to Chelsea, with the exception of Newcastle. As Atsu struggled to make it at Chelsea, he found success at Vitesse, Everton, Bournemouth, and Malaga.

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He had previously spent a season on loan when he joined Newcastle in 2017, and during that time, he played 121 times and assisted on 10 goals.

Atsu joined the Saudi Arabian team Al Raed after leaving Newcastle in 2021, but he struggled with injuries. He only played in eight games in the Saudi Professional League as a result.

He joined Hatayspor in an effort to revitalise his career, where he made four appearances before scoring his first goal, a thunderous strike that gave the team a win. He was then trapped under the rubble for days, which led to his death.

He made 207 senior career appearances in club football, scoring 23 goals.

Christian Atsu’s football journey: at International Level

Atsu played 64 times for the Black Stars, contributing nine assists and 10 goals.

He was a key member of Ghana’s AFCON teams in 2015 and 2017, which placed second and fourth, respectively.

At the end of the 2015 AFCON tournament, he was awarded both the Player of the Tournament award, as well as the Goal of the Tournament award for his strike against Guinea

In the 2015 AFCON quarterfinals against Guinea, he scored the goal that won him the prize for the best goal. He was also named the competition’s best player.  He appeared in 65 international matches for Ghana and scored 10 goals.

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Honours

FC Porto

  • Primeira Liga: 2012–13
  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 2012
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Newcastle United

  • EFL Championship: 2016–17

Ghana

  • Africa Cup of Nations runner-up: 2015

Individual Accolades

  1. Vitesse Player of the Year: 2013–14
  2. Africa Cup of Nations Player of the Tournament: 2015
  3. Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament: 2015, 2017
  4. Africa Cup of Nations Goal of the Tournament: 2015

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