Tributes pour in for Tiote

Cheick Tiote

Cheick Tiote

Former Newcastle United midfielder Cheick Tiote has been described by Steve McClaren as the “toughest player” he has ever seen – but also a man with “the most beautiful smile in football”.

Ex-Magpies boss McClaren paid tribute after the Ivorian, 30, collapsed and died after training on Monday.

“At Newcastle if [Papiss] Cisse and Cheick were smiling I knew the world was OK,” McClaren told BBC 5 live.

“He was the kind of player that everyone wants in their team.”

Tiote joined Chinese second-tier side Beijing Enterprises from Newcastle in February. He died in hospital after collapsing at the club’s training ground.

In his seven years at Newcastle, the Ivory Coast international made 156 appearances, including three in the season just finished.

McClaren, who was his manager at both Dutch side FC Twente and Newcastle, added: “I knew him first as a young player at Twente. He was the toughest player I’ve ever seen.

“On the field and in training he was such a competitor. He wanted to win every game, kick every player and win every tackle.

Tiote’s only goal for Newcastle was his equaliser against Arsenal in 2011

“He was a winner. I just can’t believe it.

“Some days we would have to pull him out of training because he was such a ferocious competitor, such a winner. He was a warrior and could play too.

“It was his dream to play in China and I was so delighted for him when it happened. He earned money to look after his family.

“He loved playing football to look after his family. All the relatives, uncles, aunts, grandparents, they all relied on him to look after them.”

email
Print Friendly

Leave a Comment