Turkey earthquake: Heartbreaking Christian Atsu details emerge revealing how he cancelled plane ticket to leave Hatayspor for France after scoring late winner
The 31-year-old is yet to be found following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey's south-eastern border 11 days ago and has claimed the lives of over 35,000 people.
Atsu is currently contracted to Turkish side Hatayspor and scored a spectacular 97th-minute free kick in their 1-0 win over Kasimpasa in the Turkish Super Lig on 5 February.
In recent heartbreaking developments, it has now been revealed that he was set to leave the country but changed his mind after netting in that victory.
Hatayspor Administrative Manager Fatih Ilek told Radyospor: "Christian Atsu told the coach that he wanted to take more time before our match with Gaziantep FK. 'Can I leave if I find a team?' he said. Volkan Demirel also accepted this request.
"He didn't play against Gaziantep FK, but scored a last-minute goal in the Kasımpasa match. Actually, he was going abroad to visit his family. But when he played well and scored, he cancelled his ticket. The earthquake happened on his happiest day. He had a flight at 11 pm. Cancelled the ticket. There was an earthquake at 4 am. Absolutely a tragedy."
The former Chelsea, Newcastle United, Everton and Bournemouth player was initially understood to have been pulled out alive from the rubble, although those reports have since been proven to be incorrect.
Indeed, close friend and agent Nana Sechere released a statement explaining that they were "yet to confirm Christian's whereabouts". Sadly, nothing has changed in the search for Atsu since then.