Salomon Kalou pays tribute to Cheick Tiote as midfielder is laid to rest

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Cheick Tiote was laid to rest on Sunday at the Williamsville Municipal Cemetery, Ivory Coast, as some of the nation's footballing fraternity paid tributes to the late Beijing Enterprises midfielder.

Tiote died at the age of 30 after collapsing during training on Monday June 5, only four months after moving to China.

Ex-Ivory Coast coach and current Morocco boss Herve Renard was in attendance as Tiote was buried -- with a full military funeral -- in Adjame, to the north of Abidjan.

Goalkeeper Copa Barry offered his tributes to the anchor man, while another former teammate, Salomon Kalou, also paid testament to the 2015 Nations Cup winner's qualities.

"He's someone I respected as a human being but also as a football player," Kalou told BBC Sport. "I played six years with him in the national team and I played against him with Chelsea when he was at Newcastle, so we had a good relationship.

"I couldn't miss this funeral for anything in the world," Kalou added. "It's unreal.

"It looks like a dream right now. We're all here to show him love and to show him he's always going to be in our hearts."

Barry, in quotes shared by Sport Ivoire, delivered an emotional tribute to the former Newcastle United man.

"This is a big loss for Ivorian and African football," Copa began. "We've lost someone valuable, on the field, was a warrior.

"On behalf of the footballers present, I wish to express my condolences to the family, to their relatives. "Thank you Tiote, thank you."

National Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Sidy Diallo, the President of the FIF, President of the Professional League Sory Diabate and Coulibaly Mahama, the CAFCI president, were all also in attendance.

Another teammate, Wilfried Bony, shared his memories of Tiote's warm and competitive nature.

"From the beginning when I joined the team in 2010, he was one of the first players who came and talked to me about how to be here, my attitude, how to train, how I need to react with the other players," Bony began, as per BBC Sport.

"Tiote was a player who loved to win who loved to be first, he never wanted to lose. He wanted always to be the best."