Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend, Didier Drogba, has paid an emotional tribute to his one-time teammate Cheick Tiote.
Now 39, Didier Drogba is still playing and knocking in the goals in the States.
Sunday saw the former Chelsea striker make his debut for Phoenix Rising in the United Soccer League Western Conference.
Scoring in the first half, Drogba then got an assist for the winner in the second-half, as Shaun Wright-Phillips secured a 2-1 win.
Another roundabout link saw Drogba lining up alongside former Newcastle defender Peter Ramage today.
However, after the final whistle, Didier Drogba’s thoughts were all with former international teammate Cheick Tiote.
Playing many times together for Ivory Coast, Tiote was the key midfield enforcer and Drogba was Captain and ended up all-time top scorer for his country.
Didier Drogba taking to social media after the final whistle:
“I want to dedicate this win to Cheick Tiote, who passed away a few days ago while doing what he loved, playing football.
“My thoughts and condolences to his family.”
The former Newcastle player’s family, as well as his agent Emanuele Palladino, flew out to China after Cheick Tiote tragically collapsed and died during a Beijing Enterprises FC training session last Monday.
Media reports though say that they are still waiting for official confirmation of the cause of the former FC Twente and Newcastle midfielder’s death.
Tiote’s body is set to be flown back to the Ivory Coast this week after current and former team-mates gather for a memorial service in China, the service is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Papiss Cisse is just one of the many players who will be attending.
Cheick Tiote’s body will then be taken back to his native country on Wednesday ahead of a private funeral service.