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.
Benteke played youth football for JS Pierreuse and later Standard Liège before moving to Genk. He rejoined Standard in January 2009 and scored three goals in 12 matches as the Walloon club won the 2008–09 Belgian championship. On 7 August 2009, he joined KV Kortrijk on loan for a season, 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.
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, and went on to score 16 goals and register nine assists in 20 starts during the 2011–12 season.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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 and a 1–3 away win against Chelsea. 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.
On 8 January 2016, Benteke was named as captain for Liverpool’s FA Cup third round tie with Exeter City at St James Park.
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. He ended his stint at Liverpool after making 42 appearances and scoring 10 goals.
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. On 10 September 2016, Benteke scored his first goal for Palace in a 1–2 victory against Middlesbrough, in just his second league game. On 24 September 2016, Benteke headed home a goal against Sunderland A.F.C. in the 94th minute to cap Palace’s comeback from down 2-0 to win 3-2.
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.
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