The Ivorian died at the age of 21 and has been remembered for his contribution to the growth of football
Manchester United forward Amad Diallo and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba have paid tributes to Atalanta’s Willy Braciano Ta Bi, who died of liver cancer.
Ta Bi started his career in his country, Ivory Coast, featuring for Moossou and ASEC Mimosas before moving abroad to team up with Atalanta in 2019.
The defensive midfielder helped his side win the Italian youth title, the Primavera, shortly after his arrival from Mimosas.
The 21-year-old died in his country, Ivory Coast, having returned there for about a month after he was confirmed to be suffering from the liver problem.
“President Antonio Percassi and the whole Atalanta family are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Willy Braciano Ta Bi,” read a statement from the Atalanta website.
“A cruel fate prematurely interrupted a dream that had begun with the Nerazzurri shirt in January 2019.
“It took him a few months to play a leading role in the Primavera and help bring the Scudetto back to Bergamo, but, above all, to leave a great memory of himself.”
Diallo spent six years with the Black and Blues before joining Premier League giants Manchester United in January after previously reaching an agreement with the club last summer.
The 18-year-old winger has taken to social media to pay a touching tribute to his former teammate, Ta Bi.
“Rest in peace, Willy Braciano Ta Bi. Forever in our hearts. Now sleep in peace, friend,” Diallo posted on Instagram.
Former Ivory Coast captain and Chelsea legend Drogba has taken to social media to pay his tribute.
“Ivory Coast, the football world is mourning you, you fought against this damn disease as you fought on the pitches like a real boss, a leader!!!!”
La Côte d’Ivoire, le monde du football te pleurent, tu t’es battu contre cette fichue maladie comme tu te battais sur les terrains comme un vrai patron, un leader!!!!
Reposes en Paix mon CAPITAINE 🧡🤍💚💔😭🙏🏾
Mes condoléances à toute sa famille 🙏🏾 https://t.co/5FKWz8y3Ob
— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) February 23, 2021
Ta Bi featured for Ivory Coast at the U17 and U20 level and captained the youth team.
A minute silence will be observed when Atalanta take on Real Madrid in a Champions League game on Wednesday night in honour of the midfielder.