At 55 years old, Benito Partida Ibáñez, originally from Guadalajara, has become an icon among soccer players and soccer fans, thanks to his fanaticism for collecting and hunting autographs of these professional players, both nationally and worldwide.
However, despite being from the land of "chivistas", the Mexican who has lived in San Diego, California for 31 years, considers himself a proudly Xoloitzcuintle of Tijuana, even being identified by the fans and the people of Tijuana as the Xolo Perro Partida.
His interest in soccer was born as a child when he watched his father play this sport in dirt fields when he lived in the state of Tijuana. Although he started out as a Chivas fan for 38 years, his fanaticism for Xolos began when he attended the semifinal between this team and León on May 4, 2011, Partida told San Diego Red.
But this passion did not stop there, but transcended so much that today he has one thousand 630 autographs on different items, from players and entire teams, which he divides into different collections, including "Arriba Xolos", where he has 580 autographs of all those who have played for the team from the border city.
Video: Xolo Perro Partida: a character recognized by the people of Tijuana
In this collection you can also find all the jerseys that the Xolos team has worn from 2011 to date, with the signatures of each of its members during those years.
“In Xolos, all the players I have known have four very special qualities that are difficult to find in a club or in a player, among them that they are simple and humble with their fans”
When asked which are his favorite players of the Tijuana team, the Xolo Perro said that there are those who gave him the championship to the promotion to reach the first division, and those who gave the first championship to Xolos. But he made it clear that his favorites are Javier Gandolfi, as a defender, and Cirilo Saucedo, as goalkeeper.
He also commented that he has great respect and admiration for Joaquín del Olmo and Antonio Mohamed, "for me, the best directors who have managed Xolos", he added.
Unlike many autograph hunters, the Mexican has shown his gratitude to different soccer professionals, as well as to the Xolos players who gave him the championship in the 2012 Apertura, to whom he made a collection of sculptures.
Other of Benito Partida's collections which he called:
- "Liga Mx": Consisting of 18 jerseys autographed by the entire team where they add up to 480 autographs.
“This collection took me 3 and a half years to complete and my son Raúl Partida and I took pictures with more than 320 players, pure professional star players of Mexican soccer”.
- "Porterazos Estrellas": It has 58 pairs of gloves of different goalkeepers, where besides Europeans, there is the famous Jorge Campos and Antonio "La Tota" Carbajal Rodríguez. .
“I made that one because it was always the position I played. And my favorite goalkeeper in my childhood was Miguel Marín, and in my youth they were, and are, Jorge Campos and Iker Casillas”.
- "Arriba México": Here you can find at least 220 autographs of players who have played for the Mexican National Team, such as Hugo Sánchez, Luis Arturo Hernández Carreón better known as "El Matador", Claudio Suárez and Pável Pardo.
- "World Champions": With only 20 autographs, some of the most outstanding in this collection are those of Ronaldinho, Maradona and Messi.
- “Sculptures”: Regarding the pieces he had made for his idols, as already mentioned, 20 correspond to those who gave the championship to Xolos, and another 20 were for the Mexican National Team. Some he not only gave as gifts, but others he kept with the players' signatures.
But, how long has it taken him to collect these autographs? All this was achieved with time and effort over the last 21 years, ensuring that the most difficult to get were those of European clubs and world champions, not only because of their level of stardom, but for the security they have in every place they are or stay. Some of these teams have been Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and AS Roma.
What was the first autograph he got? According to him, it was Luis Hernández "El Matador". While the one that took him the longest time to get was Tuca Ferreti's, taking him 3 and a half years.
Because of this, and because of the time, experiences and money invested, the Xolo Perro Partida assured that his collection is priceless
If you have any doubts of which major league player has yet to make it into his collection, this is what he answered: "I will never lose hope of having the greatest player in the history of soccer, Pelé, in my collection. In fact, I don't think anyone will ever take away the title of The King of Soccer. That autograph would be the icing on the cake, it would be the culmination of my passion," he confessed. He added that he is also waiting for Christiano Ronaldo's autograph, since he is one of the best players of the last decade.
I have a dream, and right now I am living it on a smaller scale, but my dream is to exhibit my collection in big cities, maybe in Los Angeles, one here in San Diego, one in Tijuana and one in Mexico City and Guadalajara; to raise funds and show my soccer collection and to help people with cancer in Mexico; especially women and children. Or to have a museum here in San Diego and raise funds.
If you want to know more about this passionate soccer fan, besides meeting him at every Xolos de Tijuana game, you can also follow him on his social media: