CHRISTIAN ATSU scored a last minute free kick in his final moments as a footballer.
The former Chelsea and Newcastle winger was tragically confirmed this morning to have died at the age of 31 in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria.
Atsu was in action for Turkish club Hatayspor the day before the earthquake.
And he ended his last game as a hero by scoring a free-kick in the 97th minute to give his team a 1-0 win.
The much-loved Ghanaian was bullied by his ecstatic team-mates after creating an amazing moment of genius.
Hatayspor’s head of administration Fatih Ilek revealed that Atsu was to be flown out of Turkey to find a new club just hours before the earthquake hit – only to change his mind after his brilliant performance.
Ilek told a local radio station: “There was such a great consensus after the game. Coach Volkan Demirel’s hug around Atsu and Atsu’s cheering on the pitch and later in the dressing room will forever stay in my mind.
“That was his destiny. He had a ticket to go, but because he scored he changed his mind about going.
“He was caught by an earthquake on his happiest day. This is literally a tragedy.”
After 12 days of a desperate search for him, Atsu’s manager said his body was tragically discovered under the rubble on Saturday.
“Atsu’s lifeless body was found under the rubble,” said Murat Uzunmehmet.
“More items are currently being removed. His cell phone was also found.”
Rescue workers found Atsu’s body at the Ronesans Residence – a 12-story apartment block that had collapsed in Hatay, in the city of Antakya.
Hatayspor, for whom Atsu signed in September, said his body would be transferred to Ghana.
In an official statement, the club wrote: “We will never forget you Atsu.
“Peace be upon you beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness.”
Atsu spent four seasons at Chelsea before making a permanent move to Newcastle in 2017.
He signed for Turkish super league club Hatayspor in September.
Several of his teammates had to be rescued from their homes after the 4 a.m. local time earthquake.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7429389/christian-atsu-last-free-kick/ Watch Christian Atsu’s final moments as a footballer as he scores a last-minute free-kick just hours before the earthquake struck