Black Stars and former Newcastle winger Christian Atsu is reportedly trapped under rubble after the tragic earthquake in Turkey, according to The Sun Newspaper.
Turkish publication Star claims a search-and-rescue operation is underway to find the former Chelsea star after he was caught up in the 7.8 magnitude quake on Monday.
Ex-Blue Atsu, 31, joined Super Lig club Hatayspor from Saudi side Al-Raed last summer. Several members of his new team had to be rescued by specialists after the earthquake struck.
But it’s claimed that former Toon ace Atsu and Hatayspor’s sporting director Taner Savut remain missing under rubble. The earthquake hit hard in Kahramanmaras, where Hatayspor is based.
Two players and members of the technical staff were “pulled out of the rubble” in a dramatic rescue operation. And efforts remain ongoing to find ex-Everton loanee Atsu and Savut as quickly as possible.
He isn’t the only footballer missing, with Yeni Malatyaspor goalie Ahmet Eyup also trapped.
Over 1,000 people are believed to have died in the earthquake that struck Turkey around 4 am on Monday morning.
And experts say the toll could rise to 10,000 after a second 7.5 magnitude quake hit later on. Neighbouring country Syria was also hit badly, with the tremor felt in Egypt and Cyprus too.
On Sunday Atsu struck a 97th minute for Hatayspor against Kasimpasa. And fans are praying the winger is found safe and secure.
One said: “How the world was happy when he scored a goal yesterday, this is how the world appreciates your loved ones, and friends.”
Another declared: “The man scored a goal yesterday, he was happy like crazy, now it comes to my mind, I’m crying.”
One added: “God help them.”
Atsu joined Chelsea from Porto for £3.5 million in 2013 but didn’t make a single appearance for the Premier League giants.
He took in loans at Vitesse, Everton, Bournemouth, Malaga and Newcastle. And the Magpies made his deal permanent in 2017 after Atsu played a key role in their promotion from the Championship.
The ace ended up making 86 appearances for Newcastle before joining Al-Raed in 2021.