Ghanaian soccer star Christian Atsu is still missing after the earthquakes that wrought massive devastation across parts of Turkey and Syria.
The former Chelsea, Newcastle and Everton star plays for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor in the city of Antakya in southern Turkey.
Reports emerged earlier this week that Atsu had been rescued from the rubble. However, his agent Nana Sechere subsequently tweeted that the soccer star was still missing. “We are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts,” he wrote. “As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian.”
“I am currently in Istanbul,” Sechere tweeted Thursday. “The situation remains the same, Christian Atsu is yet to be found. Unless I see Christian, or speak with him, I have no further updates.”
The soccer star’s partner Marie-Claire Rupio told BBC News Friday that the soccer star is still missing. “They know where the building is and they’re trying their best to rescue everybody,” she said. “And they know that there are people still under the rubble but the problem is that they don’t have the equipment necessary to get them out. So he is still missing and we don’t know where he is.”
Rupio described the pain of dealing with the conflicting reports about Atsu that have emerged this week. “It was quite shocking, as you can imagine, if the club was confirming, saying that he has been found and alive and taken to hospital, and 11 hours later my children had to hear it from the radio, saying that they still don’t know where he is.”
Rupio and Atsu have three children, according to reports.
“I still pray and believe that he’s alive,” Rupio added.
The powerful 7.8 magnitude quake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling thousands of buildings. A second 7.5 magnitude quake also hit the region, according to the Wall Street Journal. The death toll from the earthquakes has topped 25,000.
Atsu represented Ghana at the 2014 World Cup and was voted player of the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015, where Ghana finished runners-up.