Former Chelsea and Newcastle star Christian Atsu ‘trapped in rubble’ after 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Turkey as fears grow for Hatayspor winger
Former Premier League star Christian Atsu is said to be ‘trapped in rubble’ following the tragic 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Turkey.
The former Chelsea and Newcastle winger, now at Super Lig side Hatayspor, is believed to be missing with a search and rescue operation underway.
According to Turkish outlet Star, Atsu – along with the club’s sporting director Taner Savut – were caught up in the natural disaster in Kahramanmaras, where Hatayspor are based.
They said two Hatayspor players – Burak Oksuz and Bertug Yildirim – were rescued from the rubble.
And two members of the technical team – Ekrem Eksioglu and Osman Ates – also survived the wreckage, in good health.
However, Atsu, who only joined the team last summer from the Saudi side of Al-Raed, and Savut have yet to be found as rescue teams search for the pair.
Ghana international Atsu joined Chelsea in 2013, where he was loaned out to Everton and Bournemouth, as well as Vitesse, Malaga and Newcastle.
The Magpies turned his temporary stint into a permanent move in 2017 after Atsu helped the Toon win the league title.
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He stayed at the club until 2021, before moving to the Middle East where he then returned to Europe last year to join Hatayspor.
Atsu had only scored his first goal for the club at the weekend before the earthquake struck in a 1-0 win over Kasimpasa.
Turkish newspaper Haberturk said Hatayspor midfielder Onur Ergun and club translator Emre had also not been contacted.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Ahmet Turkaslan, who plays for second-tier side Yeni Malatyaspor, is another absentee.
Assistant coach Ilhan Var said: “We haven’t found our goalkeeper Ahmet Turkaslan yet.
“There are no signs at this time. His wife came out and described where he might be.
So far, it has been reported that more than 1,000 people are believed to have died in the earthquake that hit the country around 4am on Monday morning.
And experts said that figure could rise to 10,000 people after Turkey was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake soon after.