Monday Kickoff: Former Club America forward Benitez dies; Bale wants Real Madrid move; and more

Monday Kickoff: Former Club America forward Benitez dies; Bale wants Real Madrid move; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Former Club America forward Benitez dies; Bale wants Real Madrid move; and more

ChristianBenitezEcuador1 (CONMEBOL)

By DAN KARELL

Just weeks after completing a transfer to Qatar, former Club America forward Christian Benitez has passed away.

The Ecuadorian international’s death was confirmed by the Qatari club that recently acquired him, El Jaish, as well as the Ecuadorian Football Federation, though the causes of his death are unknown. Early reports have ranged from a car accident to cardiac arrest. Benitez was 27-years old.

Tributes to Benitez have been pouring in from all over the world, from club to international teammates.

“Chucho” Benitez was the top scorer in Liga MX each of the three half-seasons for America, scoring a total of 52 league goals in 79 league appearances as America won the 2013 Clausura tournament last May.

Before moving to the Azteca Stadium, Benitez played for Santos Laguna for three seasons, with a season in the middle of that at Birmingham City in England. Benitez came up as a professional with El Nacional in Ecuador. For his country, Benitez had 58 caps and had scored 24 goals.

Here are some more stories to get your Monday kicked off:

BALE HOPING FOR BIG MONEY MOVE TO MADRID

Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy drives a hard bargain, something Spurs star Gareth Bale is learning quickly.

The 24-year-old midfielder is reportedly back in London from the club’s trip to Hong Kong to have showdown talks with Levy and the club’s backroom staff over a proposed move to Real Madrid. Reports in England and Spain believe Madrid are willing to offer upwards of €100 million ($133 million) in total value for Bale.

Levy has plenty of experience negotiating with Real Madrid, as he last year sold midfielder Luka Modric to the Spanish club for a reported £33 million, but if Bale is sold in this transfer window for the reported price, it would become the most-expensive transfer in world history, breaking the 2009 record from Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo ($125 million).

Bale won a number of English Premier League Player of the Year awards last season, scoring 21 goals in 33 Premier League appearances, helping his side to a fifth-place finish and a deep run in the Europa League.

THIAGO SILVA SIGNS NEW PSG CONTRACT

Paris Saint-Germain won’t have to worry about their star defender Thiago Silva leaving for the time being.

The 28-year-old centerback agreed to new terms with the Ligue 1 club on Saturday, signing a contract through 2018 that should earn him upwards of €12 million ($16 million) per season after tax.

Silva had been subject of intense transfer rumors this summer, with a potential move to either Barcelona, who desperately need defensive reinforcements, or Real Madrid, following his former PSG manager, Carlo Ancelotti.

Last month, Silva starred for the Brazilian National Team as they took home their third-straight Confederations Cup title, this time with a 3-0 defeat of Spain on home ground. Last season, Silva made 34 appearances in all competitions in his first season at PSG.

QUICK KICKS

Celtic FC are nearing the signing of Ajax midfielder Dirk Boerrigter for £3 million. (REPORT)

FC Porto’s Jackson Martinez is linked with a move to Napoli, and the forward’s agent is set to meet with the Serie A club for talks. (REPORT)

Germany defeated Norway, 1-0, in the Women’s European Championships, winning their sixth straight title. (REPORT)

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina has voiced his displeasure at Liverpool FC’s front office for loaning him away without letting him know beforehand. (REPORT)

Barcelona are considering making a bid for Spain Under-20 player Dennis Suarez, who is currently on the books of Manchester City. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? What are your favorite memories of Benitez? Do you see Bale moving to Madrid this summer? Do you see Silva playing out the course of his contract at PSG?

Share your thoughts below.

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