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Photo by Kwame Adzaho-Amenortor

Ghana Holds State Funeral For Christian Atsu

Ghanaian soccer player Christian Atsu's family and loved ones come together to pay their respects at his funeral at the State House in Accra, Ghana.

Ghana held a state funeral for soccer legend Christian Atsu in Accra on Friday (March 17th). Atsu, who played for the Turkish club Hatayspor, passed away last month after massive earthquakes rocked Turkey. (Those earthquakes began on February 6 and killed over 50,000 people.)

The ceremony was presided over by Ghana's president Nana Akufo-Addo, who joined the soccer star's friends, family, fans, and colleagues to send off Atsu. The coffin was draped in Ghana's flag's colors during the ceremony and placed under a white tent.

During the ceremony, Atsu's widow Marie-Claire Rupio tearfully shared her last respects to the Ghanaian hero.

"In life, I loved you, in death, I do the same. It breaks my heart to lose you. You did not go alone. Part of you in me left with you. Your love is still my guide, though I cannot see you. Your smile, your love, I see in my children’s smile... You did not leave alone—a part of me went with you. Your love continues to guide me... You seemed immortal. Your smile, your love, I see you in the smile of our children."

After weeks of searching, Atsu's remains were recovered near the destroyed building where he lived in Antakya, Turkey, on February 18.

Atsu—who was 31 at the time of his death and had just joined the club last year—began his career in 2011 and quickly became known as one of the Black Stars' best players, adopting the name "Ghanaian Messi." He played for several European clubs, including Chelsea, Newcastle United, Al-Raed, and Hatayspor.

During his career, Atsu represented the Ghana national football team and garnered over 60 caps and 10 scored goals. At the height of his career, Atsu also participated in several international tournaments with Ghana, including the Africa Cup of Nations and the FIFA World Cup. The celebrated Ghanaian sportsman was known for his well-timed pace, his ability to dribble strategically, and the way he created scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Atsu leaves behind his widow and three children.

(Photo by Fared Kotb/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Remembering Ghanaian Football Star Christian Atsu

The body of the former Newcastle winger has been found following the Turkish earthquake. With condolences pouring in, we take a look into the life of a footballer whom home fans will remember as the “Ghanaian Messi.”

After nearly two weeks since earthquakes rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6, the body of Christian Atsu has been found under the rubble where he lived in Turkey, according to his agent. Playing for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor, the 31-year-old Ghanaian international forward — in the time he was reported still missing — had been an anxious, nerve-racking subject across football media and beyond.

Newcastle,Chelsea, andEverton have sent their commiserations, English football clubs for which Atsu had a stint with, as well as an outpouring of tributes from the football community. His move to the Turkish side in September 2022 now feels like a capstone to his eventful and wide-spanning football career.

Gradually entering the hall of fame of Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars, his journey to this point in football has been one of resilience, dilemmas, strenuous encounters, love, and uncertainties. And it all began in Ada-Foah, a town in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.

Christian Atsu Twasam and his twin sister, Christiana Atsupie Twasam were the last to complete a set of 10 siblings born into the Twasam family. Beginning his football education at Feyenoord Academy, now known as West African Football Academy in Sogakope, Atsu’s brilliant performance caught the attention of former Porto coach, Andres Villas-Boas in 2010. His dreams of playing professional football were unleashed at only 19 with a prospective fruitful career ahead of him.

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