AFCON 2019: Profile of AFCON 2015 MVP Christian Atsu

Ghana attacker Christian Atsu will be one of the star players to watch out for when the Black Stars grace the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.

Christian Atsu

The Newcastle United winger is one of the most experienced players in the tournament, having featured in the last three editions. The 27-year-old has actually adjudged the Player of The Tournament at the 2015 AFCON, hosted by Equatorial Guinea/Gabon.

Although Atsu’s career has not progressed in the direction he may have wanted, the winger is still one of Ghana’s hottest prospects at the moment.

The former Chelsea winger is set to play in his fourth AFCON tourney in Egypt. Pulse Sports profiles his career and his journey far:


Born in Ada Foah, Christian Atsu remains one of the shining lights to ever emerge from that part of Ghana. The winger made it to stardom from a modest beginning, which saw his rise through the ranks at Gomoa Fetteh Feyenoord.

Atsu left the shores of Ghana at the age of 17 to pursue his professional career, after being captured by Portuguese giants Porto. As big as the move was, the Ghanaian increasingly found it difficult to break into the Porto team.

Between 2011 and 2013, he managed just 17 appearances, scoring a single goal for the Estadio Dragao outfit. In between that period, the winger had a productive loan spell at Rio Ave which eventually turned out to be his breakthrough.


Taking in 27 matches under his belt, the winger added seven more goals to his name to back his performances. In the end, he emerged one of the best players at Rio Ave and his outputs were just enough to attract interest from Premier League heavyweights Chelsea.

In September 2013, Atsu agreed to dream move to the Stamford Bridge outfit, in a deal reportedly worth just over £3.5 million. But despite the fanfare that came with the move, Atsu never made a single appearance for the Blues.

Rather, he was sent on successive loan spells encompassing travels to the Netherlands and Spain. First, he joined Vitesses Arhem, where he enjoyed a very productive stint. The following season, Chelsea loaned him again to Everton.

Hit by a series of niggling injuries, Atsu had very limited game time at the Goodison stadium, leading to an abrupt termination of the loan deal. Other loan spells to Bournemouth and Malaga were also less productive, before the winger found a paradise at Newcastle United.


Having played a key role in the Magpies’ qualification from the Championship to the Premier League, Atsu’s loan spell was made permanent, as he put pen to paper on a four-year deal.

Atsu’s form has, however, been inconsistent this season for Newcastle United. Despite making 30 appearances this term, he is yet to score for Raphael Benitez’s side.

However, if there’s one thing the winger is noted for, it’s that he is a tournament player. He has never quite cut it at club level, but has – rather astonishingly – always found his form for Ghana at every tournament he’s played in.

As the Black Stars aim to end a 37-year drought in the AFCON, there is no doubt that Atsu will be one of the players Coach Kwesi Appiah will be counting on to bail the team out.



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