John Terry led tributes to former Chelsea and Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu, who was confirmed to have died in the earthquakes that hit Turkey earlier this month.
Atsu was reported to be missing in the immediate aftermath of the tremors that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6.
The former Ghana international joined Turkish Super Lig outfit Hatayspor last September and scored for the side the day before the earthquakes.
After the tremors caused the collapse of the apartment block in which Atsu was living, his club initially said he had been recovered from the rubble and hospitalised, but that was later confirmed to not be the case.
Following confirmation of Atsu’s death on Saturday, Terry – who was a team-mate of Atsu’s during the Ghanaian’s four-year spell at Chelsea, for whom he did not make a competitive appearance – paid tribute on social media.
“RIP my friend,” the former England captain wrote on Twitter, alongside an image of Atsu.
RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/9JdHBIQilH
— John Terry (@JohnTerry26) February 18, 2023
Atsu’s former clubs also expressed their condolences on Saturday, with Chelsea saying his death caused “enormous sadness” and Newcastle calling him: “A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters.”
Other former team-mates paid tribute on Instagram, with Cesc Fabregas calling his death “heart-breaking” and Michael Essien saying: “Rest well king”.
Bournemouth, where Atsu spent the first half of the 2015-16 season on loan, will join Chelsea and Newcastle in paying tribute to Atsu during Saturday’s Premier League games.
Players from all three clubs will wear commemorative black armbands for their respective fixtures, while Chelsea will hold a minute’s applause ahead of their meeting with Southampton, and Newcastle and Liverpool will observe a minute’s silence before their clash at St James’ Park.
We are profoundly saddened to learn that Christian Atsu has tragically lost his life in Turkey’s devastating earthquakes.
A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters.
Rest in peace, Christian.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 18, 2023
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