Skip to main content

Body of football star Benitez arrives back in his native Ecuador

updated 9:07 AM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
The coffin of Ecuador international Christian Benitez arrives at Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito. The coffin of Ecuador international Christian Benitez arrives at Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito.
HIDE CAPTION
Hero returns
Mourning family
Coffin escorted
Grieving wife
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Body of Christian Benitez arrives in Quito ahead of funeral
  • Ecuador international Benitez died after playing a match in Qatar on July 29
  • His Qatari club said he had suffered heart failure
  • Funeral scheduled for Friday in Quito

(CNN) -- The body of football star Christian Benitez arrived in his native Ecuador Friday ahead of his funeral and other tributes in the capital Quito later in the day.

The coffin was accompanied on the flight from Doha in Qatar by his wife Liseth Chala and other grieving relatives.

The 27-year-old Ecuadorian international striker died Monday after playing his first match for Qatari league side El Jaish, coming on as a second half substitute.

Read: 'Heart failure' caused death of Ecuador football ace

Football player Christian Benitez dies

The club said Wednesday that Benitez had died of heart failure after developing peritonitis.

Benitez's agent said he had complained of abdominal pains before being taken to hospital.

The striker scored 24 goals in 54 games for Ecuador, playing in the 2006 World Cup as a youngster.

He had scored four goals in Ecuador's qualifying campaign for the 2014 finals in Brazil.

Read: Death of Benitez leaves family, friends reeling

His club career saw Benitez ply his trade in Mexico, in the English Premier League with Birmingham, before heading to Qatar.

El Jaish played their first match since his death Thursday, with a minute's silence observed before taking on Al Shahaniya in a pre-season tournament.

His teammates held up a banner with is picture and the words "Christian Benitez We Will Miss You" before playing out a 4-4 draw.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT