Christian Atsu reflects on time at Portuguese giants FC Porto
Ghana and Newcastle United winger Christian Atsu has reflected on his time with Portuguese giants FC Porto.
The 26-year-old joined the Dragons as a teenager during the 2011 Portuguese league season but failed to make the mark as he was sent on loan to Rio Ave.
He made his breakthrough with the Big River before returning to FC Porto in the 2012/13 campaign - starting in nine of his league appearances as they won the national championship for the third consecutive time before moving on to Chelsea in the Premier League in 2013.
"I had a trial with FC Porto [as a teenager], did a trial for three days and then they said they wanted me to stay for six months,” Atsu told his current club’s official website.
“After, by God's grace, I impressed them and then I signed a one-year contract with them. After the one year, I signed a professional contract with them.
"That was my first time in Europe and I had a great time. We won the Portuguese under-19 league and after that, we won the Fifa Blue Stars [in 2011], which is now the FIFA Youth Cup - the Champions League for youth teams.
"Their academy team is always very good. Porto have very good scouts all over the world and they try to scout those players, and they have good coaches. They love to play football and they have a lot of academy players who are also playing in the first team, so you can see that development is very good in Porto.”
After leaving Porto for Chelsea, Atsu played on loan for the likes of Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands, Everton and Bournemouth in England as well as Malaga in Spain.
He joined Newcastle on a permanent deal last year following an initial loan spell.
"I thank God because my progress was really quick,” he said.
"I was lucky to play with great players like Hulk, [Radamel] Falcao, Jackson Martínez, James Rodriguez, and I learnt a lot there.”