Christian Benteke

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"Benteke" redirects here. For his brother, see Jonathan Benteke.
Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke 17-12-2016 1.jpg
Benteke playing for Crystal Palace in 2016
Personal information
Full name Christian Benteke Liolo[1]
Date of birth (1990-12-03) 3 December 1990 (age 26)
Place of birth Kinshasa, Zaire[2]
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[3]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Crystal Palace
Number 17
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)
2015–2016 Liverpool 29 (9)
2016– Crystal Palace 23 (9)
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 30 (9)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:52, 11 February 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 October 2016

Christian Benteke Liolo (born 3 December 1990) is a professional footballer who plays as a striker for English club Crystal Palace 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, but was part of their team that reached the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016.

Early life[edit]

Benteke was born in Kinshasa in 1990. He and his family fled during the Mobutu regime and in 1993 emigrated to Liège, Belgium.[4]

Club career[edit]

Standard Liège and Genk[edit]

Benteke played youth football for JS Pierreuse and later Standard Liège before moving to Genk. He rejoined Standard in January 2009[5] and scored three goals in 12 matches as the Walloon club won the 2008–09 Belgian championship.[6] On 7 August 2009, he joined KV Kortrijk on loan for a season,[7] where he scored 14 goals in the Belgian Pro League, including five goals in the championship play-offs, as the club achieved its best ever finish.[8]

He spent the following season on loan at KV Mechelen as part of the transfer of Aloys Nong, who moved from Mechelen to Standard Liège. Benteke's spell at Mechelen was less successful, with seven goals from 25 appearances. He returned to Genk from Standard in August 2011 for an undisclosed fee,[9] and went on to score 16 goals and register nine assists in 20 starts during the 2011–12 season.[10]

After beginning the 2012–13 season with three goals from five league matches, Benteke was subject of an offer of €6m from Premier League club Aston Villa in August 2012.[11]

Aston Villa[edit]

2012–13 season[edit]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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".[14] He then scored Villa's only goal in a 1–1 home draw with Norwich City.[15] He added a further two goals to his tally during a 3–2 victory over Swindon Town in the League Cup.[16] 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.[17]

Benteke then scored Villa's fourth goal in a 4–1 League Cup win over Norwich City at Carrow Road.[18] 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'.[19] 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]

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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] 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.'[23] 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.[24][25] 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.[26] 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.[27][28] He then scored the third goal to seal a 3–1 win against relegation rivals Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

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.[32]

2013–14 season[edit]

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.[33][34] On his second pre-season appearance, he scored a hat-trick against Crewe Alexandra in a 5–1 victory.[35] He finished pre-season with seven goals in five appearances, including two goals against Málaga at Villa Park.[36][37]

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.[38] Four days later, Benteke scored against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a 2–1 defeat.[39] 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.[40] He continued scoring, as he racked up his fifth goal in all competitions, against Newcastle United in a 1–2 defeat at Villa Park.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

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.[44][45] 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.[46][47] 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.[48]

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.[49]

2014–15 season[edit]

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.[50] The incident led to both clubs being fined £20,000 by The FA for failing to keep their players under control.[51]

He scored his second goal of the season against Manchester United in a 1–1 draw at Villa Park.[52] It took him until early March to score his next goal, a 94th-minute penalty in a local derby against rivals West Bromwich Albion.[53] On 7 April, he scored his second Premier League hat-trick in a 3–3 draw with Queens Park Rangers.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56] Six days later, Benteke was announced as the Player of the Month for April.[57][58] 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.[59]

Liverpool[edit]

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.[60] 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.[61]

On 9 August, Benteke made his competitive debut by starting in a 0–1 win at Stoke City.[62] Eight days later he scored his first league goal for Liverpool in a 1–0 home win over newly promoted Bournemouth.[63] On 12 September, he scored an overhead kick in a 1–3 defeat to rivals Manchester United.[64]

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[65] and a 1–3 away win against Chelsea.[66] 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.[67]

On 8 January 2016, Benteke was named as captain for Liverpool's FA Cup third round tie with Exeter City at St James Park.[68]

On 11 May 2016, Benteke scored his tenth goal of his debut season at Liverpool with a 92nd-minute equaliser in the team's final home game of 2015–16 – a 1–1 draw with Chelsea.[69] He ended his stint at Liverpool after making 42 appearances and scoring 10 goals.[70]

Crystal Palace[edit]

On 20 August 2016, Premier League side Crystal Palace completed the signing of Benteke on a four-year deal for a fee of £27m which could rise by a further £5m, bringing the total fee to £32m.[71][72] On 10 September 2016, Benteke scored his first goal for Palace in a 1–2 victory against Middlesbrough, in just his second league game.[73] On 24 September 2016, Benteke headed home a goal against Sunderland A.F.C. in the 94th minute to cap Palace's comeback from 2–0 down to win 3–2.[74] On 3 December 2016 (Benteke's birthday), he scored twice in a 3–0 win over Southampton that ended Palace's run of six consecutive defeats.[75]

International career[edit]

Benteke with 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.[76]

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.[77]

He scored two goals in seven appearances during qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup,[78] but was ruled out of the tournament finals with a ruptured Achilles tendon.[79]

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.[80] He was selected for the final tournament in France, and made his tournament debut in the second group game on 18 June, replacing Romelu Lukaku for the last seven minutes of a 3–0 win over the Republic of Ireland in Bordeaux.[81] He played three more minutes in place of the same player four days later in a victory over Sweden,[82] but took no further part as the Belgians reached the quarter-finals and lost to Wales. On 10 October 2016, Benteke set a record for the fastest goal in a World Cup match—either qualifying or the finals—when he scored after 8.1 seconds against Gibraltar in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match. He scored twice more to complete his first hat-trick for Belgium.[83]

International goals[edit]

As of match played 11 February 2017. Belgium score listed first, score column indicates score after each Benteke goal.[84]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 15 August 2012 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium 5  Netherlands 1–0 4–2 Friendly
2 12 October 2012 Red Star Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia 7  Serbia 3–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 16 October 2012 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium 8  Scotland 2–0
4 29 May 2013 FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, United States 12  United States 2–1 4–2 Friendly
5 4–1
6 28 March 2015 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium 20  Cyprus 2–0 5–0 UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying
7 10 October 2016 Estádio Algarve, Faro/Loulé, Portugal 30  Gibraltar 1–0 6–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
8 3–0
9 5–0
Note that the friendly of Belgium against Romania on 14 November 2012 is not an FIFA A-match due to an excessive number of substitutions according to the Laws of the Game.[85]

Personal life[edit]

Benteke is a Christian. He points up after scoring goals to thank God, and also prays frequently.[86] He has a younger brother, Jonathan, who is also a footballer and currently plays for the development squad of Crystal Palace of the English Premier League.[87]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Benteke playing for Aston Villa in 2013
As of match played 31 January 2017[88]
Club Season League 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 29 9 4 0 2 0 7 1 42 10
Total 29 9 4 0 2 0 7 1 42 10
Crystal Palace 2016–17 Premier League 23 9 2 2 2 0 0 0 27 11
Career total 259 106 18 5 10 5 17 2 306 118

International[edit]

Benteke playing for Belgium in 2013
As of match played 10 October 2016[84][89]
National team Year Apps Goals
Belgium 2010 3 0
2012 5 3
2013 8 2
2014 3 0
2015 5 1
2016 6 3
Total 30 9

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Standard Liège

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]