Tributes have flooded in from Dutch side Feyenoord following the tragic announcement that their former player Christian Gyan has passed away at the age of 43.
The tough tackling defender was in the books of the Rotterdam based side between 1997 and 2007.
Attah Rasta’ as he is affectionately called passed away on Wednesday following a long battle with cancer.
The news was confirmed in a statement from the Eredivisie side, which read: “Feyenoord have learned with great sadness of the death of Christian Gyan. The former defender of the club had been struggling with health problems for some time and died on Wednesday at the age of 43,” the Eredivisie side wrote on their official website.
“Christian Gyan was under contract in De Kuip for ten years and in that time conquered many hearts of the legion.
“With winning a national title (1999), the UEFA Cup (2002) and the Johan Cruijff Scale, the little Ghanaian was not only extremely successful in his Feyenoord period; he also grew into a cult hero and huge crowd favorite.
“Something that Gyan could not possibly predict when he made the step from his native country to the Netherlands at the age of seventeen.
“He did this in 1996 together with fellow countryman Patrick Allotey, who died in 2007 and was only allowed to live to the age of 28. Gyan was first rented out to Excelsior, after which his Feyenoord adventure really started in the 1997-1998 season under then-coach Leo Beenhakker.
The absolute highlight for Gyan at Feyenoord was the UEFA Cup win in 2002. The small defender had a base place in the final against Borussia Dortmund and in that match, he fearlessly took on the tallest Jan Koller, of whom he even made a few header duels. managed to win.
“Another image inextricably linked to the UEFA Cup final is that of a praying Gyan minutes before kick-off. The deeply religious Ghanaian, who also wore a shirt with texts about God under his match shirt, called out for help from above on the field with his arms wide and eyes closed.
“Not infrequently the ‘Christian Gyan olé olé’ blared from the stands in De Kuip, sometimes even for minutes and almost always as a result of the Ghanaian laughing bare his teeth. The back himself had a suspicion where his popularity with the legion came from. ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a player who always works hard. That’s what the fans love,’ he once said.
“The fact that Gyan acquired a hero status and was not forgotten in Rotterdam after his playing career became clear after it became known in Michel van Egmond’s book ‘King’ about Gyan that the happiness of the public’s favorite was threatened in various ways.