Just In: The Former Chelsea and Newcastle star Christian Atsu 'is found ALIVE'

The Former Chelsea and Newcastle star Christian Atsu 'is found ALIVE'

More than 2,600 people have been killed and thousands more injured after the catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria overnight, flattening neighbors while families were asleep.

 A search and rescue operation was launched for the former Chelsea and Newcastle man, and it has now been reported by Portuguese outlet A Bola that he has been found alive - though suffering from an injury to his right foot and breathing difficulties.  He has reportedly been taken to hospital.

 Two of his Hatayspor team-mates as well as members of the technical staff were said to have been pulled out of the ruble earlier in the day and the positive news regarding Atsu comes after a frantic search to try and find him alive.

 The 31-year-old joined Chelsea in 2013 but never played a competitive moment for the club as he was sent out on loan for a number of seasons including to Everton and Newcastle.

 Though he made just five appearances at Everton, he impressed enough on loan at Newcastle to make a permanent move to the Magpies.

 In total he made 107 appearances for the club, scoring eight goals, before joining Saudi side Al-Raed in 2021.

 Newcastle have posted on social media with a photo of Atsu when he was at the club, saying they were 'praying for some good news'.

 Atsu was in action on Sunday for Hatayspor, scoring a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time in a 1-0 victory over Kasimpasa.

 In a message after the game, he wrote: 'Important win for the team.  Happy to be on the scoresheet.'

 The earthquake hit hard in Kahramanmaras, where Hatayspor is based.

 Hatayspor player Onur Ergun posted an Instagram story in response to earlier reports that he is missing to say they were incorrect.

 'Thank you very much to everyone who called and asked,' the midfielder said.  'The news is not true.  I'm fine.

 'I can't answer the phone because there is a network problem.  Get well soon to all of us.'

 Turkish keeper Ahmed Turkaslan of Yeni Malatyaspor is also said to be missing.

 The clubs assistant coach ─░lhan Var said: 'We haven't found our goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan yet.  There are no signs right now.  His wife came out and described where he could be.

 The wife of Hatayspor manager Volkan Demirel shared a tearful message after a massive aftershock with a magnitude of 7.5 hit Turkey's south hours after the original quake.

 'Hatay is in a very bad way,' Zeynep Sever Demirel said in a video shared on social media.  A number of her friends were believed to still be trapped under rubble, with fears that more footballers could also be affected by the disaster.

 According to Haber Global, footballers from the Marasspor team may have been staying in a hotel destroyed by the quake.

 Among the other Turkish athletes believed to be missing are 14 volleyball players from the Hatay team, handball international Cemal Kutahya and Hatayspor coach Savas Yukse.

 Olympic gold medalist Taha Akgul said around 30 and 40 wrestlers from a team based in Kahramanmaras were also trapped under the rubble.

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