Christian Atsu was a 'movie star' who 'gave out cash' to the needy, former team-mate says

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Atsu was tragically found dead at the age of 31, after his body was pulled out of the rubble in Antakya in Turkey, which was hit by a devastating earthquake earlier this month.

Now, former West Ham and Fulham defender John Paintsil – an international teammate of Atsu with Ghana – has paid tribute to his friend and explained his selfless nature.

"He helped a lot of people solve their problems, gave cash out to those in need," Paintsil told BBC Africa in a moving tribute to Atsu that featured testimonies from various other team-mates.

"Atsu's mind was so good that it could come up with different ideas. He was jovial and creative, like a movie star.

"We have lost a great soul. He was one in a million because he sometimes put others before himself."

Another Ghanaian international, Kwesi Appiah, added: "He was a joy to be with and a great team-mate. Away from football, he was very caring and supportive and would go out of his way to help anyone. He'd light up any room."

Atsu, who left Newcastle in 2021, was playing for Turkish side Hatayspor at the time of his death.

He was initially declared missing and, after a number of false reports about his whereabouts, was eventually found dead in the building he was residing in.

His professional career spanned 12 years and took him from Porto and Rio Ave in Portugal, to Chelsea. Several loan spells away from Stamford Bridge followed, before he established himself as a Newcastle favourite. He was beloved in his homeland of Ghana, for whom he won 65 caps and netted nine international goals alongside the likes of Paintsil and Appiah.