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Christian Benteke

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Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke.JPG
Benteke with Belgium in 2013
Personal information
Full name Christian Benteke Liolo[1]
Date of birth (1990-12-03) 3 December 1990 (age 25)
Place of birth Kinshasa, Zaire[2]
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[3]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Liverpool
Number 9
Youth career
1996–2004 JS Pierreuse
2004–2006 Standard Liège
2006–2007 Genk
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2009 Genk 10 (1)
2009–2011 Standard Liège 18 (3)
2009–2010 Kortrijk (loan) 34 (14)
2010–2011 Mechelen (loan) 18 (6)
2011–2012 Genk 37 (19)
2012–2015 Aston Villa 89 (42)
2015– Liverpool 20 (6)
National team
2007 Belgium U17 18 (6)
2007–2008 Belgium U18 7 (3)
2008–2009 Belgium U19 10 (10)
2009–2012 Belgium U21 9 (4)
2010– Belgium 24 (6)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:25, 23 January 2016 (UTC).
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 September 2015

Christian Benteke Liolo (born 3 December 1990) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Liverpool and the Belgium national team.

He began his career at Standard Liège, playing a part in their 2008–09 Belgian First Division triumph. Following a season at Genk he was signed for £7 million by Aston Villa. He scored 49 goals in 100 matches for Villa across all competitions, helping them to the 2015 FA Cup Final, before transferring to Liverpool in 2015 for £32.5 million.

Benteke has earned over 20 caps for Belgium since making his debut in 2010. He missed the 2014 FIFA World Cup through injury.

Early life

Benteke was born in Kinshasa in 1990. He and his family fled during the Mobutu regime and emigrated to Liège, Belgium.[4]

Club career

Standard Liège and Genk

Benteke played youth football for JS Pierreuse and later Standard Liège before moving to Genk. He returned to Standard in January 2009.[5] On 7 August 2009 he joined KV Kortrijk on loan for a season.[6] He spent the following season on loan at Mechelen as part of the transfer of Aloys Nong, who moved from Mechelen to Standard Liège. He returned to Genk in 2011, scoring 19 goals in 37 appearances during one season at the club.[7]

Aston Villa

2012–13 season

On 31 August 2012, Benteke joined Premier League club Aston Villa on a four-year deal for a fee believed to be around £7 million.[8] Benteke stated it was a dream come true in getting a move to the Premier League and thanked the players and manager at K.R.C. Genk for his move.[9]

On 15 September 2012, Benteke scored on his debut for Aston Villa in a 2–0 win against Swansea City, after coming on as a substitute for Austrian forward Andreas Weimann. The goal came when Swansea defender Ashley Williams headed the ball into Benteke's path, which he then lifted over the keeper and tapped in on the volley. Villa manager Paul Lambert praised Benteke's performance on his debut calling him "unplayable".[10] He then scored Villa's only goal in a 1–1 home draw with Norwich City.[11] He added a further two goals to his tally during a 3–2 victory over Swindon Town in the League Cup.[12] He scored the winner in a 1–0 Premier League victory for Villa against Reading at Villa Park on 27 November to continue his impressive start in English football.[13]

Benteke then scored Villa's fourth goal in a 4–1 League Cup win over Norwich City at Carrow Road.[14] Benteke further added to his impressive start in Premier League football by scoring two goals in Villa's 3–1 win against Liverpool at Anfield on 15 December. In addition to the two goals, he also assisted Villa's second goal with a back-heel to Andreas Weimann. Paul Lambert said afterwards that 'Benteke has been unbelievable', after already stating midweek (post–Norwich) that 'you run out of things to say about the guy, how well he's performing and how young he is'.[15] Around Christmas time, Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas was reportedly interested in signing Benteke, referring to him as the season's "surprise package".[citation needed]

Benteke (left) playing for Aston Villa in 2013

After not scoring for three games, Benteke scored Villa's first penalty kick in almost a year in a 2–2 draw away to Swansea City in Villa's first game of 2013.[16] He recorded his 10th goal of the season with a 28-yard strike against West Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion in a 2–2 draw at The Hawthorns. The goal was nominated for January's goal of the month competition on Match of the Day.[17] He then netted Villa's first goal in their 2–1 League Cup semi-final victory over Bradford City. However, the victory was not enough as Bradford won 4–3 on aggregate to progress to the final.[18] Former England striker Michael Owen called him one of the signings of the season and posted a tweet the day after the semi-final saying: 'I'm seriously impressed with Benteke. What a player.'[19] Benteke continued his rich scoring form with a goal against Newcastle United and a brace against Everton, in a game that Villa had led 3–1 at one point but eventually finished 3–3.[20][21] He racked up his 15th goal in all competitions, as well as tallying six goals in five games, when he scored a penalty in a 2–1 victory against West Ham United on 10 February 2013. This was Villa's first league victory in eight games, since Benteke inspired the win against Liverpool back in December.[22] Benteke scored a deflected goal in a 2–1 victory at Reading, scoring the club's 1.000th goal in the Premier League in the process. The following week he went on to score a goal that sealed a 3–2 win over Queens Park Rangers.[23][24] He then scored the third goal to seal a 3–1 win against relegation rivals Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.[25] Benteke was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year after his excellent debut season, eventually finishing as runner-up to eventual double award winner Gareth Bale.[26] On 29 April, Benteke scored his first hat-trick for Aston Villa in a 6–1 thrashing of Sunderland. These goals also saw him exceed Dwight Yorke's record for most Premier League goals in a season (18) by an Aston Villa player and pass the 20 goal mark in all competitions, becoming the first player to do so for Villa since Juan Pablo Ángel in the 2003–04 season.[27]

On 11 May, Benteke scored Villa's only goal in a 1–2 loss to Chelsea but in the second half he was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a high boot on John Terry, meaning he would miss the last game of the season.[28]

2013–14 season

Benteke playing for Aston Villa in 2013

Benteke's 23 goals in 2012–13 led to speculation about his future, and in early July he submitted a transfer request. Villa said he could leave only if their valuation were met, but a fortnight later he withdrew his transfer request, after talks with manager Paul Lambert, and signed a new four-year contract with the club.[29][30] On his second pre-season appearance, he scored a hat-trick against Crewe Alexandra in a 5–1 victory.[31] He finished pre-season with seven goals in five appearances, including two goals against Málaga at Villa Park.[32][33]

On 17 August 2013, Benteke scored twice, once from a penalty and one headed goal via a rebound from a missed penalty, in Aston Villa's 3–1 away-win against Arsenal on the opening day of the 2013–14 Premier League season.[34] Four days later, Benteke scored against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a 2–1 defeat.[35] He scored his fourth goal in as many games, as Villa comfortably beat League One side Rotherham United 3–0 in the League Cup second round.[36] He continued scoring, as he racked up his fifth goal in all competitions, against Newcastle United in a 1–2 defeat at Villa Park.[37] However his brilliant early season form was abruptly ended, as he was injured in the next match against Norwich City. It was later confirmed that he would be out for up to six weeks with a hip flexor injury.[38] However he made his comeback earlier than expected, after coming on as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur a month later in a 2–0 defeat.[39]

After loss of form and niggling injuries prevented Benteke scoring for 12 games (his last goal being against Newcastle on 14 September), he eventually ended his drought against Arsenal in a 1–2 defeat on 13 January 2014.[40][41] He followed this up with goals in back-to-back games against Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion, in a 2–2 draw and 4–3 victory respectively.[42][43] Having not scored throughout February, the Belgian then scored a superb overhead volley as well as a header, in an eventual 4–1 home victory against Norwich City on 2 March.[44]

On 3 April 2014, Benteke suffered a rupture of his achilles tendon while training and was ruled out for at least six months, missing the remainder of the season and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[45]

2014–15 season

On 2 November 2014, Benteke was given a straight red card by referee Neil Swarbrick for pushing the face of Tottenham Hotspur's Ryan Mason after Mason had stuck his face in Benteke's chest. Villa had been winning at the time, but went on to lose 2–1.[46] The incident led to both clubs being fined £20,000 by The FA for failing to keep their players under control.[47]

He scored his second goal of the season against Manchester United in a 1–1 draw at Villa Park.[48] It took him until early March to score his next goal, a 94th-minute penalty in a local derby against rivals West Bromwich Albion.[49] On 7 April, he scored his second Premier League hat-trick in a 3–3 draw with Queens Park Rangers.[50] Twelve days later, he equalised as Villa came from behind to defeat Liverpool and reach the 2015 FA Cup Final, their first for fifteen years.[51] On 2 May, he scored twice in a 3–2 win at home to Everton, taking him to a total of eleven goals in nine matches since the arrival of Tim Sherwood as manager.[52] Six days later, Benteke was announced as the Player of the Month for April.[53][54] He played the full 90 minutes in the FA Cup Final as Villa lost 0–4 to Arsenal, being beaten to a header by Per Mertesacker for the third goal of the rout.[55]

Liverpool

On 22 July 2015, Liverpool completed the signing of Benteke on a "long-term contract" after meeting his release clause of £32.5 million, making him their second most expensive transfer of all time.[56] He made his debut on 2 August in a pre-season friendly at Swindon Town, putting Liverpool into the lead with a volley as they went on to win 2–1.[57]

On 9 August, Benteke made his competitive debut by starting in a 0–1 win at Stoke City.[58] Eight days later he scored his first league goal for Liverpool in a 1–0 home win over newly promoted Bournemouth.[59] On 12 September, he scored an overhead kick in a 1–3 defeat to rivals Manchester United.[60]

After missing several games through injury, Benteke returned to score in consecutive games as a substitute on 25 and 31 October: a 1–1 draw against Southampton[61] and a 1–3 away win against Chelsea.[62] On 26 December, he replaced compatriot Divock Origi in the first half of a home fixture against league leaders Leicester City, and scored the only goal in a victory that curtailed the visitors' nine-game unbeaten run.[63]

International career

Benteke playing for Belgium in 2013

Benteke was member for the Belgium U17 team at 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea where he played three games and scored once.[64]

On 19 May 2010, he made his senior debut for the Belgium national team in a friendly match against Bulgaria in Brussels after his former coach at Kortrijk, Georges Leekens, became national coach. On 15 August 2012, he scored his first goal in a 4–2 win against the Netherlands. Since then, he has become a regular starter for Belgium under Marc Wilmots. On 29 May 2013, he scored twice in a 4–2 friendly victory against the United States in Cleveland, Ohio.[65]

He scored two goals in seven appearances during qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,[66] but was ruled out of the tournament finals with a ruptured Achilles tendon.[67]

Benteke returned to Belgium's squad for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, scoring his first international goal for two years in a 5–0 defeat of Cyprus on 28 March 2015.[68]

Personal life

Benteke is a Christian. He points up after scoring goals to thank God, and also prays frequently.[69] He has a younger brother, Jonathan, who is also a footballer and currently plays for Zulte Waregem in the Belgian Pro League.[70]

Career statistics

Club

As of match played 30 January 2016.[71]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Genk 2007–08 Belgian Pro League 7 1 0 0 0 0 7 1
2008–09 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Total 10 1 0 0 0 0 10 1
Standard Liège 2008–09 Belgian Pro League 9 3 0 0 2 0 11 3
2009–10 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
2010–11 4 0 0 0 5 0 9 0
Total 18 3 0 0 7 0 25 3
Kortrijk (loan) 2009–10 Belgian Pro League 34 14 4 2 0 0 38 16
Mechelen (loan) 2010–11 18 6 2 1 0 0 20 7
Genk 2011–12 32 16 1 0 0 0 33 16
2012–13 5 3 0 0 3 1 8 4
Total 37 19 1 0 3 1 41 20
Aston Villa 2012–13 Premier League 34 19 0 0 5 4 0 0 39 23
2013–14 26 10 1 0 1 1 0 0 28 11
2014–15 29 13 5 2 0 0 0 0 34 15
Total 89 42 6 2 6 5 0 0 101 49
Liverpool 2015–16 Premier League 20 6 3 0 2 0 3 1 28 7
Career total 226 92 16 5 8 5 13 2 263 104

International

As of match played 6 September 2015.[72]
National team Year Apps Goals
Belgium 2010 3 0
2012 5 3
2013 8 2
2014 3 0
2015 5 1
Total 24 6

International goals

Scores and results list Belgium's goal tally first.[citation needed]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 15 August 2012 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels  Netherlands 1–0 4–2 Friendly
2. 12 October 2012 Stadium Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade  Serbia 1–0 3–0 2014 World Cup qualifier
3. 16 October 2012 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels  Scotland 1–0 2–0 2014 World Cup qualifier
* 14 November 2012 Arena Națională, Bucharest  Romania 1–0 1–2 Friendly
4. 29 May 2013 FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland  United States 2–1 4–2 Friendly
5. 4–1
6. 28 March 2015 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels  Cyprus 2–0 5–0 Euro 2016 qualifier
* Unofficial match according to the Laws of the Game (excessive number of Romanian substitutions)

Honours

Club

Standard Liège

Individual

References

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External links