Julio César Benítez

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Julio César Benítez
Personal information
Full name Julio César Benítez Amodeo
Date of birth (1940-10-01)October 1, 1940
Place of birth Montevideo, Uruguay
Date of death April 6, 1968(1968-04-06) (aged 27)
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Playing position Fullback
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1955-1959 Racing Club de Montevideo
1959-1960 Real Valladolid 26 (5)
1960-1961 Real Zaragoza 30 (2)
1961-1968 FC Barcelona 123 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Julio César Benítez Amodeo (October 1, 1940 – April 6, 1968) was an Uruguayan footballer, known for his time in FC Barcelona from 1961 until his surprising death in 1968.

Benítez was a defender, appreciated for his physical strength, technique with the ball and powerful shot. His rivalry with Francisco Gento, Real Madrid player, helped him earn Barcelona's fans appreciation.

Benítez started his football career at the age of 16, in Racing Club de Montevideo, then playing in the Uruguayan first division. In 1959 he played for Real Valladolid, and a year later he moved to Real Zaragoza. In his time with these teams he established himself as a great player. Benítez moved to FC Barcelona in August 1961. In Barcelona he played in several positions in midfield and even in attack, but he became fixated as a fullback after a short while. With Barcelona he won Copa del Generalísimo in 1963 and Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1966.

He died on April 6, 1968 in Barcelona, three days before a critical game in the Camp Nou against Real Madrid. The cause of his death was eating spoiled seafood, which resulted in gastroenteritis and ultimately his death. His death attracted huge attention to Spanish football in general and Barcelona in particular. 150,000 fans of FC Barcelona were present at his funeral in the Camp Nou, two days before the game. Benítez was buried in a cemetery near Camp Nou in April 8. The Royal Spanish Football Federation decided not to cancel the game, but just put if off by two days. Benítez's last words were "Come on friends, let's win Madrid 2-0!".[citation needed] However, his teammate could not cope psychologically with his death and devote him a win in the game, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. Nevertheless, on July 11, 1968 Barcelona beat Real Madrid in the cup final, and the win was dedicated in memory of Benítez. The cup title was included in the list of titles won by Benítez, as a dedication to his contribution to the team.

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