Ghanaians pay last respect to  Christian Atsu at funeral 

Ghanaians pay last respect to  Christian Atsu at funeral 

Hundreds gathered at the funeral of Christian Atsu to pay their respects as the former Premier League star was laid to rest.

Atsu, who made 80 appearances for Newcastle United and Everton in the English top flight, was one of the thousands of victims who died in the Turkey earthquake last month.

He was honoured with a state funeral today (March 17) in his native Ghana, for whom he played 65 times.

Family and friends were joined by government representatives and the African country's president Nana Akufo-Addo, as well as Atsu's team-mates from the national team and Turkish club 

His widow Marie-Claire Rupio read out an emotional statement at the State House in Accra. "In life I love you darling, in death I'll do the same," she began, before having to hand it over to Atsu's sister to finish.

"You did not go alone, for part of me went with you," it continued. "Your smile, your love I see in our children's smiles."

Military honour guard carries the remains of Ghana soccer player Christian Atsu for his funeral at the State House in Accra, Ghana

Sport minister Mustapha Ussif, meanwhile, hailed his attitude. He told mourners: "Even at the peak of his career, Astu remained himself and was never overtaken by pride, arrogance or indiscipline. His legacy will remain as an inspiration."

Atsu's coffin was drapped in Ghana's red, yellow, and green flag as military pallbearers carried it in. His body was recovered a fortnight after the quake having been trapped under the rubble of the building he lived in.

The winger, who passed away aged 31, began his professional career with Porto in Portugal. Chelsea signed him for a reported fee of £3.5million in 2013, but he never made a senior appearance for the Blues.