Former Birmingham City and Club America striker Christian Benitez has died, aged 27.
The Ecuadorian, nicknamed ‘Chucho,’ played on loan at Birmingham City during the 2009-10 season when the club was in the Premier League. Benitez made an immediate impression in the league with his strong, physical style and incredible dribbling skills. Unfortunately the one thing he was missing that season was the final touch. He then went back to Santos Laguna before moving on to Qatari club El Jaish.
Earlier this summer, there was speculation in the British media that Benitez could return to the Premier League with Swansea one of a few clubs mentioned as showing an interest in the Ecuador striker who played 58 times for his country.
The club statement from El Jaish read:
“The club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of the player.
“Benitez had recently joined the club from Club America for three seasons. The player participated for the first time with the team during yesterday’s match against Qatar Sports Club in the Sheikh Jassem Cup without complaining of any health problems.
“His sudden departure is a big shock for each member of the technical and administrative staff. He was a player that over the short period he was here was regarded for his high moral character.”
Benitez reportedly suffered a heart attack and died in the hospital.