Ex-Chelsea star Christian Atsu found dead, Newcastle, other former clubs react

February 18th, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Former Chelsea star Christian Atsu has been found dead following the devastating earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria last week.

The 31-year-old had been missing since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that took place in the early hours of the morning of February 6 – but one of his agents has now confirmed his body had been discovered under the rubble.

Murat Uzunmehmet revealed the devastating news – 12 days since the disaster struck, telling reporters on Saturday: “Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble. Currently, more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.”

Another of Atsu’s agents – Nana Sechere – also announced the news.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning,” he said.

“My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.”

“The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the collapse, is on his way to be sent to his hometown Ghana,’ they said on Twitter – as they blacked out their profile picture.

“We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness. Rest in peace.”

Atsu’s former club Everton were among the first Premier League sides to pay tribute.

“We are deeply saddened by today’s news that Christian Atsu has been found dead following the earthquake in Turkey earlier this month,” they said.

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends, colleagues at Hatayspor and everyone affected by this tragic event that has claimed so many lives.”

Newcastle United – where Atsu spent four years of his career – said Atsu would be ‘fondly remembered’ by everyone at the club.

“We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes,” they said on social media.

“A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters. Rest in peace, Christian.”

Chelsea – Atsu’s first Premier League club – said: “Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of our former player, Christian Atsu. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

There were hopes the former winger had been rescued after the disaster first unfolded, but Hatayspor and agent Sechere had revealed over the past week that these claims were untrue.

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Kurt Zouma breaks silence on his reported desire to return to Everton, reveals what Frank Lampard told him

July 23rd, 2019 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma has revealed his desire for a future at Stamford Bridge but stressed his need to play regularly to preserve his ambitions to play for France at Euro 2020.

Everton are reportedly desperate to sign the Frenchman permanently after impressing on loan at Goodson Park last season.

But Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is equally determined to keep Zouma at Stamford Bridge.

‘I’m happy with what the manager said about me,’ said Zouma.

‘That means he is seeing the work I’m doing and I’m very pleased with that.

‘We had a chat at the beginning of pre-season and he was very good with me. We talk a lot.

‘It is true that I enjoyed my time at Everton but I am a Chelsea player and we’ll see what will happen in the end.

‘I think it will be here at Chelsea but the most important thing is to work and to prepare for the season.

‘I want to do really well in pre-season to get my chance and be here.’

On Everton loan stint. ‘It was a very good season for me. I made some good friends and I enjoyed my time there with the manager as well.

‘It was very good for my development. After my injury I was ready to play week-in, week-out and get used to playing regularly. By going there, that is what I did.

‘I feel I am a better player. Everything has improved in my game – tactically and technically as a defender with my positioning.

‘I still have a lot to learn and to work on but I feel I have done a lot since my injury and I’m very happy with it.’

His progress at Everton was rewarded with an international recall and Zouma’s desire to stay in the France team ahead of Euro 2020 and add to his four caps provides the backdrop to this big decision over his club future.

Under Silva at Goodison he can be confident he will be a first-choice starter.

At Chelsea there is the allure of Champions League football but also fierce competition, especially when Antonio Rudiger, the regular defensive partner for David Luiz last season, returns from a knee injury, report the Daily Mail.

Rudiger will miss the start of the new campaign after surgery but is ahead of schedule with his recovery and is aiming to be back by October.

‘It was one of my targets to get into the France team,’ said Zouma. ‘It is very important to me. I had been there before and wanted to come back. I managed to do that which made me very happy.

‘Now the target is to play at the Euros next year but to be there you have to be playing at your club. That is why I’m working very hard in pre-season. We will see what’s going to happen.

‘There are a lot of players here and a lot of quality at the club but he can only play with two central defenders.

‘The manager has to make the choice but he is lucky because he only has good players. It will be hard for him to make that choice but that is what we’re here for and why we are working hard.’

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