Hundreds grieve for ex-Premier League star Christian Atsu at emotional funeral
Hundreds gathered at the funeral of Christian Atsu to pay their respects as the former Premier League star was laid to rest.
Atsu, who made 80 appearances for Newcastle United and Everton in the English top flight, was one of the thousands of victims who died in the Turkey earthquake last month. He was honoured with a state funeral today (March 17) in his native Ghana, for whom he played 65 times.
Family and friends were joined by government representatives and the African country's president Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as Atsu's team-mates from the national team and Turkish club Hatayspor.
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His widow Marie-Claire Rupio read out an emotional statement at the State House in Accra. "In life I love you darling, in death I'll do the same," she began, before having to hand it over to Atsu's sister to finish.
"You did not go alone, for part of me went with you," it continued. "Your smile, your love I see in our children's smiles."
Sport minister Mustapha Ussif, meanwhile, hailed his attitude. He told mourners: "Even at the peak of his career, Astu remained himself and was never overtaken by pride, arrogance or indiscipline. His legacy will remain as an inspiration."
Atsu's coffin was drapped in Ghana's red, yellow, and green flag as military pallbearers carried it in. His body was recovered a fortnight after the quake having been trapped under the rubble of the building he lived in.
The winger, who passed away aged 31, began his professional career with Porto in Portugal. Chelsea signed him for a reported fee of £3.5million in 2013, but he never made a senior appearances for the Blues.
After loan spells with fellow English sides Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle, he joined the latter permanently in 2017. An injury hit 2021/22 season with Saudi club Al-Raed was followed by him joining Hatayspor last September.
His final moments on the pitch saw him score a match-winning free kick on February 5, after which he pointed to the sky in celebration.
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