Former Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has issued a heartfelt message of sympathy following the tragic death of his former player Cheick Tiote.
The Ivory Coast international passed away from heart failure at the age of 30 during training with his club Beijing Enterprises on Monday, with the coach who worked with Tiote throughout his four-year stint as Newcastle manager offering these words of shock following the news.
“I’m devastated to hear the news about my former player and friend Cheick Tiote,” Pardew stated.
“From the moment I arrived at Newcastle, Cheick was a wonderful presence around the dressing room and his performances on the field often defied belief.
“There were days when he must have covered every blade of grass on a football field and it didn’t surprise me that clubs like Manchester United were being linked with attempts to sign him.
“None of us will ever forget that incredible day when our Newcastle team came from 4-0 down to draw an unbelievable Premier League game against Arsenal, with Cheick’s incredible goal in the final moments of that game one of the iconic moments in Premier League history.
“I loved him. He was everything that you want in a Newcastle player. He had the quality, and of course you’ll never underestimate the fact that he wants to win.
“I just loved that he was a winner. It can overcome so many obstacles as a footballer. Young players could take a big leaf out of his book in terms of how he approaches training and games and he was a special young man.
“To hear the news that he has passed away at the age of 30 breaks my heart and my sympathies go out to all his family and friends who will be devastated by this news.
“Life is not fair sometimes and I will remember Cheick Tiote as a giant of a midfielder who I loved to manage.
“Rest in peace my friend.”
Tiote moved to St James’ Park from FC Twente in 2010 and made 161 appearances for the Magpies, scoring once – the equaliser when Newcastle recovered from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal in 2011.
He earned 52 caps for Ivory Coast, playing at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, while also helping his country to the African Nations Cup final in 2012, where they lost to Zambia.
Tiote also played for Anderlecht and Roda JC and had made 17 appearances for second-tier Chinese club Beijing Enterprises before his death.
Source: Kelvin Palmer| Yahoo