Former Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish has paid tribute to the late Christian Benitez.
McLeish has paid his respects to Benitez, who died on Monday, aged 27.
âWhen I heard the news I was shocked, like everyone else was,â McLeish told the Birmingham Mail âChucho was such a lovely guy, he was always smiling and 27 is no age.
âMy thoughts and sympathy go out to his wife, children and family.
âIâve never ever stopped following his career since he left and heâs been banging the goals in galore. I would have loved to have kept him at Birmingham.
âBut we did what we did for the right reasons at the time.
âWe felt that it was maybe right to try and get a couple of experienced strikers in. But that didnât happen and the club felt the price for Chucho was a bit high.
âHe didnât score the goals, but it was his play and the assists. He was always dangerous. The big clubs feared him.
âHe had that quickness over short distances, he would turn defenders and slide people in.
âCertainly he would have scored more goals and got even better, with more experience and after a first season settling in.
âI think the main thing then, though, was the money. Had we had the resources at the time to take him and still go for other players, then that would have been ideal.
âThat next season we went down by one goal, really. One goal. With Chucho, he would have given us loads and a lot of options.
âIn fact, given what happened, Iâm pretty sure that if Christian Benitez had stayed and we had got our other targets, Iâd still be at Birmingham right now.â