Friends and former team mates of midfielder Cheick Tiote attended a memorial service held for the player by his club Beijing Enterprises.
The 30-year-old, who joined the second-tier Chinese side in February after seven years at England’s Newcastle United, collapsed during training and died in hospital last week.
“I lived some extraordinary moments with this man and today he’s gone,” Tiote’s former Newcastle team mate Papiss Cisse said at the memorial.
Tiote made more than 150 appearances for Newcastle, with his only goal for the club a memorable equaliser against Arsenal as his team battled back to draw 4-4 at St James’ Park in February 2011.
He was an African Nations Cup winner with the Ivory Coast in 2015 although he missed the final through injury, and he played in the 2010 and 21014 World Cups.
In another related development, Athletic Bilbao defender Yeray Alvarez has withdrawn from Spain’s squad for the European Under-21 Championship because he needs chemotherapy.
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Alvarez, 22, underwent surgery in December after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.
An abnormality was discovered on Monday during a routine test to monitor the centre-back’s recovery from his operation, and he will now need to start a new course of treatment.
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