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

ChristianBenitezEcuador1 (CONMEBOL)


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:


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.


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.


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)


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.


  1. Ives,

    What is this tifo/sign incident in San Jose all about? There is mention in the twitterfest with Garber about something a Portland fan did…

  2. It’ll be interesting to see if Blatter has any comments on the unfortunate death. The pressure to move the time, or location of the ’22 WC just increased with this revelation.

    • I don’t think there’s any “pressure” to move the time the WC is played in 2022.

      Let’s be honest, this was the plan all along and Benitez’s death, sadly, helps strengthen the argument to move the corrupt World Cup to the winter months.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s literally sickening to think of the corruption in FIFA right now and it’s painful to know nothing can be done about it.

      • The FA, and other European leagues are resisting the pressure from FIFA to change the time of the WC. It’s still a ways off, but we will be re-visiting this topic many times.

      • …and I hope they stick to that resistance.

        However, I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to suddenly, and quietly not be an i$$ue some random time in the future after a brown paper bag is exchanged.

  3. Deputy editor of saying Benitez suffered severe heat stroke which caused a heart attack.

    I imagine we see a string of subsequent conflicting reports followed by a State autopsy showing that heat had no affect at all on his health and that it was good for him.

  4. No transfer fee, 27 years old, EPL experience, club and scoring titles, 52 league goals in 79 league appearances, national team star, about the perfect DP combo of an athlete in his prime, marketability, experience, inteliigence, athleticism, and price given he flew under the relative radar despite his accomplishments. Seriously hope some MLS team made a run at him and lost, it would be unimaginable if not one team thought well enough to make him an offer. If he was here, feels like he wouldn’t have passed. Argh. So sad. RIP Chucho.

  5. Several news outlets are reporting the cause of death may be related to the heat in Qatar. I’m not sure thats accurate considering he played in Mexico before but this appears to be more bad press for fifa. Very talented player gone well before his time. RIP

  6. First off, sad to hear about Chucho. He was a great competitor.

    This Madrid offer for Bale leads me to believe that Ronaldo may be heading back to Manchester. While it is certainly just a hopeful hunch, it does not seem far fetched now.

    • Not to be a d!ck about it, but I’m all for people making a conscious effort to point this out daily until it’s addressed.

      • Ives has addressed it several times. It’s not changing and it shouldn’t. He has the filters there to eliminate the trash/troll comments that dominate other blogs. This is the one place I know of where you can have an actual online discussion about soccer without it turning into a verbal mosh pit. If every now and then a comment takes an extra 20 minutes to appear, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

      • Perhaps you’re new, OPMG, but for people who have been around for years…trolling isn’t something that was ever an issue for this website, prior to the filter system.

        That’s a poor (and lazy) excuse. Additionally, to state you simply have to wait “20 minutes” is beyond untruthful. A number of people will verify their post sat around for hours and sometimes days before being enabled and by then, the conversation was over….all because they used the word “pa$$” on an ever-loving-soccer website.

        You may not agree but the (high) quality of posters on this website has zero to do with the filter system. The entire system is outdated, and frankly, just plain lazy on the part of Ives and the moderators.

        I’ve said it before that I’m a huge supporter of the website and his reporting but you need to give a lot more credit to the posters and a lot less leeway to a filter system that dissuades people from even posting and eventually even browsing this website.

        Hard to have good “quality” of posters or a website if no one is trafficking your website. If you don’t believe that’s a trending attitude, you haven’t been paying attention.

      • The fact that my response to OPMG was caught in the moderation filter is both hysterical and a sad reality of the website.

      • Look, we all love comaining about moderation, but I love not having to worry about trolls and trash talkers on this website, alright?

      • Pace, that’s precisely the point and many others can validate this statement: trolls were never an issue prior to the filter moderation.

        I’m not complaining for complaining sake. Stop being an apologist.

      • I thought he said it was out of his control. There’s no need for troll moderation on this site, and the filters aren’t designed to catch trolls anyway.

  7. +1

    If Levy refuses this, he is simply a terrible businessman. I know he doesn’t like to “lose” in negotiations, but guess what? Getting $133M for one player is not a loss. It’s a m@ssive win.

  8. Why is this even debatable?

    Take the d*mn money and run. 133 million? That’s more than half of a champions league squad.

    • +1

      If Levy refuses this, he is simply a terrible businessman. I know he doesn’t like to “lose” in negotiations, but guess what? Getting $133M for one player is not a loss. It’s a massive win.

    • +1

      If Levy refuses this, he is simply a terrible businessman. I know he doesn’t like to “lose” in negotiations, but guess what? Getting $133M for one player is not a loss. It’s a m@ssive win.

      • As a businessman I consider that an amazing win. obviously his job is to act in the best interests of the club.

        As you said, 133 million for a single player is a coup of epic proportions. Even the fans won’t lash out at that move. I don’t know what Spurs pulls in revenue on an annual basis, but 133 million could possibly double their annual revenues.

        When you think about the cost of the average UCL starter–10-20 million euros–they could potentially get 5 to 10 world cl@ss players for Bale.


    • Yeah…. seems a no brainer.

      Spurs lost any chance at keeping Bale missing out on CL the last 2 years, so they aren’t going to have him long-term. I’m pretty sure they have had talks with Bale and know this and that this is negotiations to get the most $$$$ they can out of him. Hard to imagine getting any more than 133 million. Heck, If you’d asked me last week what they’d get for Bale, it wouldn’t be anything close to that. Think Spurs be careful lest they overplay their hand. If these numbers are true…. there may or may not be a little more posturing, but I’d have to think it will go through.

  9. On one hand, the value of Bale may never be higher and I think Levy would be foolish to p@ss on the offer.

    On the other hand, the value of Bale may never be higher for his own club and their chances of having a fighting shot at the Champions League and I think Levy would be foolish to accept an offer.

    Obviously it’s a precarious situation to be in for Spurs/Levy. I think it’s a foregone conclusion Bale will be leaving, at the latest, next summer. However, the ability to lure a few top names with the fee they capture from Madrid may be directly dependent on their ability to make a Champions League spot…

    Tough choices.

    *@: Usage to avoid the ridiculous moderation system.

    • Come on. If there really was a 100M pound offer for Bale, you gleefully take it and buy 3 absolute studs and 4-5 more very good players. You can remake your team’s weaknesses and immediately contend for the CL, if not the PL championship, which promises to be a wide-open race due to the coaching changes all over the place.

      No player is worth that kind of money.

      • This isn’t FIFA.

        I don’t think it’s automatic Spurs get “3 absolute studs and 4-5 more very good players.” Can they add depth? Absolutely.

        Think about how the transfer market works. When other clubs know you have money, and know the exact amount, that factors into their asking prices.

        Additionally, what 3 “absolute studs” are you going to get for 100M pounds and have any room left over for the supposed “4-5 more very good players”?

        Are you seeing the asking prices for these top tier players in the transfer market nowdays? They can get maybe…..MAYBE 2…and even then, those players are already targets of higher profile clubs and Spurs who have no money left to utilize towards this “4-5 more very good players”.

        So, basically with the time remaining in this transfer market, you’re going to be adding depth, and lacking a “stud” that almost single-handedly carried the Spurs to a top 4 finish two years in a row.

        Arsenal have been trying all summer to land a marquee attacker and they actually have a Champions League spot, with some history of sustained success. Have they added even a single “stud”? No.

        You can easily add depth with that amount but to believe Bale can be replaced with that amount of money is whimsical at best. Spurs do not have unlimited funds like some of these other clubs that are building their club through the transfer market over night.

        This isn’t FIFA.

      • Plus, what 3 studs are out there right now waiting to be signed? I still think you’ve got to take the money, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that there are three fantastic players available.

      • I was simply saying what a team could do with $100M, not saying what they could do in this transfer time window.

        As you said, Spurs do not have an unlimited budget…which means there is absolutely no way they can p@ss on this offer. What they have is an ability to get players below market value, which other clubs with unlimited funds cannot do. $100M can afford them luxuries that Bale simply cannot. After all, the point of my original post is that he’s only 1 player.

        Arsenal hasn’t really been trying, either. They made some inquiries about Higuain but didn’t offer enough money, and you’re kidding yourself if you think their interest in Suarez is serious. I actually think they bid for Suarez, knowing they couldn’t get him, as a way to show the fans “we’re trying!”

      • “I was simply saying what a team could do with $100M, not saying what they could do in this transfer time window.”

        I get that and for debates sake, I’m entertaining the thought of “what if”, not necessarily disagreeing that Levy shouldn’t pounce on the 100M.

        However, we’re not just talking about “what you could do” hypothetically, we’re talking about “what COULD you do” in this transfer market…with the limited time remaining because that would be their reality.

        I’m just not buying that the Spurs could turn around and reinvest that 100M and land two or three marquee names and find themselves challenging for a Champions League spot they way they are right now.

        As ridiculous as that may sound to some, keep in mind this isn’t League 1 and the Spurs aren’t recognized as some “project” that players know they’ll be the first big signing of many.

        It’s nice to have the money but if you can’t replace what you already have…that’ll be gone in a few years when Spurs go back to mid-table and have a handful of average signings that were big money at the time.

  10. “Early reports have ranged from a car accident to cardiac arrest.”

    Something doesn’t seem right about this situation.

    • A day after a game in Qatar. Playing in the heat… It will be real interesting to see how FIFA handles things if the heat played a role in his p@ssing…

  11. If Tottenham get $100M offer for Bale I can’t see them passing on it. That is just too much money for a single player that can be re-invested into the team. Not saying it wouldn’t hurt the club to lose Bale….it will….but for that kind of cash they can pick up 3 very good players and still have cash left over. Not to mention that it will insure Dempsey continues to get minutes.

    • Bale is the face of the Premier League right now, he can drive Spurs to becoming consistent top 4/title challengers year in year out. I dont think 100M makes up for the massive amount of cash those targets can bring.

      PLUS, whoopdy doo, you sell Bale for stupid money but you can’t replace him with top players b/c Spurs don’t have the clout of being top 4…

    • Have you all ever read Bill Simmons?

      In his basketball articles, he places values on various players. Lebron and Kevin Durant are the best players in the league and thus worth $2. A 2nd-tier star like Chris Bosh is worth a $1.25, a minor star like Klay Thompson is worth $1, a solid role player like Tiago Splitter is worth $.50, and a journeyman like Nick Young is worth $.25.

      Now conceivably, Klay Thompson ($1) + Andre Miller ($.50) + two Nick Youngs (2x$.25) = LeBron. Except, that its freaking LeBron. In reality, there is no value for the best player in the league.

      I make this analogy because it is apropos for the Bale situation. Are there three available worth $33 million per player, that add up to the value of Bale? I’m not sure if there are such players out there on the market, so I don’t know if it is worth Tottenham’s time to facilitate this transfer.

      • Well the NBA is not FIFA.

        1 player can have a major affect on an NBA game (even more so considering how crooked that league’s officiating is), while the affect of a single player in FIFA is diminished due in part to the side of the field and number of players.

        Also, Bale is not worth 100m € –not even close. He is worth close to 30m€ and Madrid are almost tripling his actual value.

        If superstar players were worth that much in FIFA–Real Madrid and Manchester City would literally never lose a game.

        Barcelona lost a combined 7-0 to Bayern (granted 4 of the goals were offside–another conversation) with 2 of the greatest midfielders in the history of soccer–not just modern game, but ever. They played a team with lesser players but greater team cohesion due to a lack of fatigue and morale.

        Arsenal plugs and chugs with squad players and consistently finishes in the top 4 due to team cohesion and aspects such as coaching and style of play.

        3 30m€ players for 1 30m€ player. It’s literally a no brainer if your goal is winning.

      • I always enjoy a Sports Guy reference, so excellent work. Other than that, while I like Bale and he very much is a star, Madrid are overpaying for him, especially if it breaks the former record that Ronaldo’s transfer held…

      • Yeah, I think the question is who’s available on the market. We’re at the end of July and a lot of the top available talent has already been claimed. If they can’t spend the proceeds in a way that makes them a contender for top 4 this year, which they are with Bale, then it doesn’t really make sense.

      • Who cares who’s available right now? If ‘Spurs don’t take 100 mill. if offered, an unhappy Gareth Bale’s stock will only plummet. He wants to leave!

  12. Napoli is certainly spending the money they received for Cavani: Reina on loan, Callejon, Albiol, Higuain, and now this guy from Benfica. They should challenge for the Serie A this year. Didn’t they also hire Rafa Benitez as their manager, and not on an interim basis?

    Very sad to hear Chucho passed. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. That puts a major dent in Ecuador’s World Cup campaign.

    The Bale story is crazy. For him, he plays the same position as Ronaldo, differently for sure, but he lines up at least in the same spot. Real would have to get rid of di Maria and maybe one other player just to ensure he gets playing time for $100 million. Spurs could probably find 3 or 4 players with that money, especially a striker or two, that they need to move into the top four.


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