Ajax's Mohammed Kudus pays tribute to fellow Ghanaian Christian Atsu

Ajax star Mohammed Kudus pays tribute to fellow Ghanaian Christian Atsu after scoring, just days after the 31-year-old lost his life in devastating Turkey earthquake – and emotional forward avoids being shown a yellow card by the referee

  • Ajax forward Mohammed Kudus has paid an emotional tribute to Christian Atsu
  • Atsu died in the disastrous earthquake that hit both Syria and Turkey
  • Kudus revealed a shirt with the words RIP Atsu after scoring for Ajax on Sunday 

Ajax forward Mohammed Kudus honoured the passing of fellow Ghanaian countryman Christian Atsu who died in the recent Turkey earthquake by revealing a message underneath his playing shirt after scoring for the Dutch side on Sunday.

Kudus used the occasion to pay his respects to Atsu and marked the moment with the symbolic gesture of removing his shirt.

Underneath his red and white playing top, the 22-year-old revealed an undershirt with the message ‘R.I.P Atsu’ written on it. Kudus ran to the corner flag, took off his shirt and showed the message to the crowd inside the Johan Cryuff Arena as team-mates consoled him.

Atsu was sadly found dead in the aftermath of the destructive 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey on February 6. His body was recovered from the rubble in nine days later as he became another victim of the natural disaster that has so far claimed the lives of over 42,000 people in Turkey.

Kudus was international team-mates with Atsu while on duty for Ghana and despite never playing alongside one another wanted to use the moment to pay his respects.

Ajax’S Mohammed Kudus reveals his shirt with the message ‘RIP Atsu’ after scoring on Sunday

Fellow Ghana international Christian Atsu died in the horrific earthquake that struck Turkey on February 6

Kudus (second from left) was consoled by his team-mates after scoring his goal and also escaped a yellow card for his gesture

Surprisingly, the referee in the match between Ajax and Sparta Rotterdam, Pol van Boekel showed common sense in the moment and disregarded official rules regarding player celebrations.

Players that remove their shirt are automatically shown a yellow card as per the official rulebook, however Van Boekel clearly felt that to do so on this occasion would have been wrong. 

Kudus didn’t get shown a card and was instead given emotional support by the understanding official.

Speaking at full-time, Kudus demonstrated his respect for the referee, adding: ‘We have football rules but this is beyond football, this is about life and death.

‘The referee told me it’s not allowed (shirt removal) but he understands because this is a bigger situation than football. A big respect from me to the referee.’

Kudus’ goal secured a much-needed 4-0 victory for Ajax and moved them to within three points of league leaders Feyenoord.

Meanwhile, Atsu’s body was flown back to his home nation of Ghana on Sunday ahead of his funeral. 

His wife and children were guests at St James Park for Newcastle’s weekend Premier League encounter with Liverpool as his former club paid tribute to the fallen star that also previously played for Chelsea, Everton, and Bournemouth during a career-best spell in England.

Newcastle held a minute’s silence prior to kick-off to honour Atsu and his time at the club that saw him help them earn promotion from the Championship and back to the Premier League.

Atsu’s other former clubs also marked the occasion with Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth players similarly holding a moment of reflection before their weekend games.

Atsu’s whereabouts were originally unknown following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake

Atsu (pictured) and Kudus both played for Ghana but never made it out onto the pitch alongside one another for the nation

Atsu’s body arrived back in his homeland Ghana on Sunday ahead of his planned funeral

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