Christian Benteke, 31, has decided to leave the Premier League and move to American club DC United. The transfer comes at a time when his career is faltering and he seems to be moving away from the national team.
Christian Benteke has made the choice to go to MLS, as have many other players who have done it before him in the past. The former Standard striker, who is getting closer to the end of his career, is trying to take on a new challenge. Unfortunately for him, this new challenge is not the best option from a sporting point of view.
England without Big Ben
Benteke’s athleticism, playmaking, head skills and finishing skills were all on display during his time in Belgium. In his last season at Genk, he scored no fewer than sixteen times before moving to England in the summer of 2012. Aston Villa then paid almost 9 million euros to buy him.
During his first three seasons with Aston Villa, Benteke scored 49 goals in 101 games. These impressive stats prompted Liverpool, who were desperately seeking their identity and past glory, to spend more than £45million. A very big transfer to one of the biggest clubs in England where the pressure is sky-high every weekend. In Benteke’s first season with Liverpool, he scored ten goals including his world famous bicycle kick against Manchester United. However, these statistics were not convincing. Benteke, for example, ended up next to Carroll, Voronin, Ngog and Jovanovic in one of the flop transfers of the unstable reds.
To pick up the thread again, Benteke opted for a new adventure at Crystal Palace just one season later. The pressure was a lot less, but in both Belgium and England one thing is expected: goals, goals and more goals.
After five years we see an overview of very varied results at rush hour. Benteke’s first season was of a high level. He scored 17 goals in all competitions. The second season was unlike his first. He only scored 3 times while playing over 30 games. Benteke largely missed the 2018-2019 season due to an injury. That’s why Benteke only scored three times in two years.
The 2020-2021 season was much better than the two previous seasons. He showed Crystal Palace again that he really knew the goal. He scored a total of 10 Premier League goals that season. Unfortunately for our compatriot, the competition became a lot tougher with men like Mateta and Edouard. Benteke started only 11 times last season and scored only 4 times.
It was clear that the English adventure for Big Ben came to an end. He was still mentioned at Wolverhampton, but Benteke decided to go to the United States. In 10 years in London and Liverpool he scored 97 goals in 320 games, no Belgian ever did better in England.
And what about the Red Devils?
Benteke is often ridiculed for his performance for the national team, but he has the stats of a true goalscorer. With the Red Devils, he scored 18 goals in 43 matches, i.e. a goal every 118 minutes. What Benteke hasn’t done yet is scoring in a major tournament. His Achilles tendon injury kept him out of the squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when Benteke was really in good shape. At the Red Devils, the competition was also fierce, of course. In 2014, Divock Origi was able to show itself to the Belgian public due to the absence of Benteke. Romelu Lukaku only got stronger and stronger until he suddenly became the all-time top scorer for the national team and we should not forget Batshuayi as he averages every 87 minutes for the Devils.
The transfer that Benteke is now making also immediately looks like the end of his era with our national team. He is also 31 years old, so the end of his career is also near. In recent years it has often seemed that Martinez would take him back and let him play to regain his confidence, but it would be surprising to see him still playing for our national team. Especially after the World Cup it seems impossible that Benteke will earn a selection from the MLS. That is certainly because talents such as Openda and De Ketelaere are ready to succeed Benteke and because Origi does want to relaunch his career at AC Milan as a basic player.