TIJUANA – The tragic death of Christian “Chucho” Benitez has been a bitter pill to swallow for all of Mexican soccer, in Tijuana some of the Xolos players remember the Ecuadorian with a lot of love being that they were former teammates and friends of Benitez. Fernando Arce, Edgar Castillo who made a small tribute on Instagram, and his countryman Fidel Martinez all could not believe the news.
Jorge Almiron was the first one to describe his emotions as he learned of the tragic news this morning.
“I got hit with Goosebumps as I learned of the news. One always starts thinking of the family that he leaves behind and the devastation that they must be feeling. Soccer has truly lost one of its greatest members.”
Fidel Martinez never got to share a locker room with Benitez but he spoke of what “Chucho” meant to all Ecuadorians.
“I’m very sad; I was with my family this morning when I found out. My condolences go out to his family. I watched him play; he was a great striker, incredible, and spectacular, but above all a great person. When I first came to Mexico he gave some advice that I will always cherish in my heart. He told me to be calm that things will work out for me here. Now I just have to follow his examples, may god have him in his glory and that he may bless his family with a lot of strength to get through these difficult times” commented Martinez.
He also mentioned how Benitez gave him advice and exchanged jerseys.
“I met him once in Deportivo Quito, but when I came to Mexico he called me by phone. And when we played against Club America he gave me his jersey after the game.”
Fernando Arce was teammates with Benitez in Santos where they won a league championship, and Benitez won his first Golden Boot in Mexico.
“It is a huge loss, personally I had the opportunity to call him my friend while we were both in Santos, I got to know him and his family.
This has hit all of us in Mexican soccer and Ecuadorian soccer very hard; I really don’t have the words to fully describe what I’m feeling. If there is anything we can do for his family, his kids which he leaves behind at a very young age” said Arce.
Finally Arce told how he found out of the tragic news.
“I found out as soon as I woke up, it was all over the news. I then got the dreaded confirmation phone calls. The best experiences we had together was definitely that championship, and his first Golden Boot. He was an extraordinary player always gave 100% at every training and even more during games. He would always want us to play the ball long to him so he can go fight it out with the defenders, truly gifted player. I am left with beautiful memories of him, we all share the pain of losing him” concluded Arce.