Ex-Newcastle player Tiote dies after collapsing in training

Tributes poured in for the former Newcastle midfielder, who moved to China's second-tier Beijing Enterprises for an undisclosed fee in February after seven years in England's north-east.

"May your soul rest in peace", he said on Twitter.

Ivory Coast global Cheick Tiote died on Monday after collapsing during training with Beijing Enterprises, the club confirmed. Tiote also made his global breakthrough and featured in all the Ivory Coast's World Cup games in South Africa in 2010. "My family prays for your family".

Former England manager Steve McClaren, who managed him at Newcastle and Dutch side Twente, said Tiote had always wanted to make the money that would allow him to look after his family.

Tiote started playing soccer on the streets of Abidjan in Ivory Coast at the age of 10.

The midfielder started his career in Belgium with Anderlecht and also represented Twente and Roda JC in the Netherlands, as well as making 52 global appearances for Ivory Coast.

In his seven years at Newcastle, the Ivory Coast global made 156 appearances, including three in the season just finished. In its statement, the club said that the 30-year-old midfielder passed out during training at around 6pm.

As the football fraternity paid tribute to the popular, hard-tackling midfielder, a group of fans laid a bouquet of white flowers on the pitch at Beijing's National Olympic Sports Centre stadium. African football has lost a giant of a player who made life hard for his opponents on the pitch in the midfield.

"I hope there is football in heaven", said one user on China's Twitter-like Weibo.

Rival club Tianjin Quanjian also expressed "its deep condolences", while Shanghai SIPG said it was in "mourning" over the talented player's death.

"I had the pleasure of signing Cheick in 2010 and thoroughly enjoyed my time working with him at Newcastle; I quickly learned he was a very humble person and a wonderful footballer".

Tiote, who made more than 150 appearances in seven seasons at Newcastle, was an African Nations Cup victor with the Ivorians in 2015, although he missed the final through injury, and he also played in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

  • Julie Sanders