• The Championship

Birmingham to pay tribute to Benitez

ESPN staff
July 31, 2013

Birmingham City have announced plans to pay tribute to former striker Christian Benitez, who died on Monday at the age of 27.

Benitez played on loan in the Premier League for Birmingham in 2009-10, and the Midlands club will honour him with a minute's silence before the first game of the Championship season against Watford this Saturday.

Blues players will also wear black armbands for the match, which takes place two days after Benitez's funeral in his native Ecuador.

Birmingham said in a statement: "Everybody associated with the club was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chucho.

"The Ecuador international was an immensely popular character at St Andrew's following a season-long loan from Mexican club Santos Laguna during the successful 2009-10 campaign.

"A minute's silence, alongside a video tribute played on the stadium's big screen, will be held before kick-off [against Watford] while Blues players will wear black armbands during the match.

"A large number of supporters have also contacted the club expressing a desire to celebrate Chucho's time at Blues with a minute's applause in the 11th minute to mark the striker's squad number during the 2009-10 season.

"Supporters are free to embrace this spontaneous gesture on Saturday if they so wish."

Benitez, affectionately known as Chucho, suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest hours after making his debut for Qatari side Al Jaish on Monday.

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