2005-06 Standard Liège |
2006-09 KRC Genk |
2009-11 Standard Liège, £235k |
2009-10 KV Kortrijk (L) |
2010-11 KV Mechelen (L) |
2011-12 KRC Genk, £900k |
2012-15 Aston Villa, £7.92m, 101 (49) |
2015-16 Liverpool, £41.85m |
2016- Crystal Palace, £28.08m |
AT A GLANCE
Christian Benteke Liolo
Monday, 3 December 1990
Friday, 31 August 2012
Paul Lambert |
Tim Sherwood |
First Squad Appearance
Saturday, 15 September 2012
Saturday, 15 September 2012
Saturday, 15 September 2012
Saturday, 30 May 2015
Final Squad Appearance
Saturday, 30 May 2015
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
(6 ft 3 in) 1.90 m
2014-15 FA Cup Runners Up |
Player #854 for Aston Villa, Christian Benteke Liolo known as Christian Benteke played as a centre forward for the club in Villa’s 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 Premier League campaigns, making 101 appearances and scored 49 goals.
Benteke was born in Kinshasa, Zaire on 3 December 1990.
Villa had signed Benteke from KRC Genk for £7,920,000 on 31 August 2012 and his recruitment was a rare bright spot in the Lambert era that was notable for his signing of players that were of insufficient quality to succeed in top flight football.
In summary Benteke’s career would be summed up thus. A good first season, an injury hit second season and a decent third season, three transfer requests a £40m move away and much derided below par spells post Villa. A funny career in all. Benteke in 2012-13 looked unplayable at times and his goals kept Villa up. In 2014-15 under Tim Sherwood he regained some of his original vigour. That was possibly the last time anyone saw anything like the 2012 vintage Benteke. Still if as a footballer you had a single season as good as Benteke’s then perhaps that’s all you need. Villa profited but were relegated the season after Benteke left. Without the service though it’s doubtful even he could have saved Villa.
Lambert handed Benteke his debut as a 71’ substitute for Andreas Weimann in Villa’s 2-0 Premier League win over Swansea City on Saturday, 15 September 2012 and within 18’ of his appearance Benteke had scored his first goal for the club.
Unsurprisingly Lambert put Benteke in the starting line up for the following match and he would go on to make 37 starts across the next 41 games.
After his debut goal however Benteke would not score for five games before hitting Villa’s goal in the disappointing 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Saturday, 27 October 2012. The next game Benteke followed up with a brace in the League Cup against Swindon Town before contributing his first assist to lay on a goal for Gabby Agbonlahor in Villa’s 1-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday, 3 November 2012.
Benteke was developing the nice habit of creating and scoring to determine the outcome of games rather than simply embellish scorelines as some free scoring forwards have done in the past. Benteke was clearly a pressure player and Villa were suddenly a goalscoring threat.
Benteke’s second assist in two games couldn’t prevent defeat to Manchester United but then he hit the winner in the 1-0 Premier League win over Reading on Tuesday, 27 November 2012.
Benteke transferred his form to the League Cup creating goals for Brett Holman and Andreas Weimann before hitting Villa’s final goal in their 4-1 win at Norwich City on Tuesday, 11 December 2012.
The following match saw Benteke score two and create the other goal for Andreas Weimann to beat Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield as Villa appeared to have come across a transformational figure for the club in Benteke.
Benteke however would go 7 games without a goal except for in typical fashion creating one and scoring the other as Villa drew with Swansea City on New Years Day 2013. Prior to that however Lambert’s Villa had lost 0-8 to Chelsea - the club’s worst ever defeat - 0-4 to Tottenham Hotspur and 0-3 to Wigan Athletic in what was a horrendous festive period for Villa. Despite Benteke’s arrival and presence there was little doubt that Lambert had materially weakened Villa.
Benteke opened the scoring in another 2-2 draw - this time with neighbours West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, 19 January 2013 - and that goal acted as a catalyst for a run of goalscoring to the end of the season that had not been seen at Villa Park for decades.
Benteke hit the opener in Villa’s 2-1 League Cup Win over Bradford City on Tuesday, 22 January 2013.
Scored a penalty for Villa in the 1-2 Premier League defeat to Newcastle United on Tuesday, 29 January 2013.
Scored a brace in Villa’s 3-3 draw at Everton on Saturday, 2 February 2013.
Scored the opening goal in Villa’s 2-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday, 10 February 2013.
Scored the opening goal in Villa’s 2-1 win at Reading on Saturday, 9 March 2013.
Scored the winner in Villa’s 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, 16 March 2013.
Scored Villa’s goal in the 1-2 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday, 31 March 2013.
Scored a last minute goal in Villa’s 3-1 win at Stoke City on Saturday, 6 April 2013.
Scored a hat-trick in Villa’s 6-1 demolition of Sunderland on Monday, 29 April 2013.
And scored Villa’s goal in the 1-2 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, 19 May 2013.
In all Benteke had hit 23 goals, 19 in the league, and created 6 in his first 39 games for the club and there was little doubt that without his goals and contribution, Villa, who finished 15th, five points off the relegation places, would themselves have been staring almost certain relegation in the face.
Whilst Villa had a new hero on the pitch there was real concern about the ineptitude of Lambert and his wider signings, footballing style, communication idiosyncrasies, reliance on overused cliches and results. That concern was clearly felt off the pitch too with Benteke agitating for a move away - for the first time - after just 9 months with Villa.
Benteke stayed having been reassured by Lambert that things would change, they did. They got worse.
Benteke couldn’t repeat his first season in football and the cracks he had papered over could not longer be hidden, whilst Villa finished 15th once again they lost more games than the previous season and had comfortably the worst goal difference of all the non-relegated sides. The club was in turmoil but the hierarchy failed to act and a period of self destruction followed that ultimately led to relegation in 2015-16.
Benteke started the season in fine form once again and hit a brace on the opening day of the season to secure Villa’s 3-1 win at Arsenal as well as Villa’s goal in the 1-2 defeat at Chelsea in the following match, and Villa’s second in the League Cup win over Rotherham United before another goal in the 1-2 defeat to Newcastle United on Saturday, 14 September 2013.
Villa were already in a pickle however with 3 league defeats in 4 matches as a season of struggle, even with Benteke on board, seemed likely. That likelihood became certainty when Benteke suffered his first injury spell of the season, on returning he went nine games without scoring before further injury ruled him out until New Year 2014.
Benteke returned to the side on Wednesday, 1 January 2014 but Villa were in the depths of a typically poor run under Lambert and Benteke wouldn’t score until Monday, 13 January 2014 in Villa’s 1-2 home defeat to Arsenal. Benteke did score Villa’s crucial second goal in the 2-2 draw at Anfield Saturday, 18 January 2014 and contributed his first assist of the season for Fabian Delph to score in the 4-3 Villa Park win over West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 with Benteke himself scoring the crucial fourth goal from the penalty spot but he would not score again until hitting a hat-trick in Villa’s 4-1 demolition of Norwich City on Sunday, 2 March 2014 in what was a rare win for Lambert’s struggling side.
Benteke scored his final goal of the season hitting the opener in Villa’s torrid 1-4 home defeat to Stoke City on Sunday, 23 March 2014 before suffering injury and being ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.
Benteke had scored 11 goals, 10 in the League, and contributed two assists in 28 appearances in what it must be said was a disappointing second season for the player. That however did not stop Benteke’s desire to move on once again however after being persuaded to stay with the club for the third successive season Benteke began the 2014-15 campaign injured and unavailable to rescue a Villa side falling sharply under Paul Lambert.
Benteke’s return to the side came on Saturday, 4 October 2014 with Villa in the middle of an all too familiar run of results under Lambert - losing 6 consecutive games, scoring once and conceding fifteen. In such a difficult run the returning Benteke failed to score but did manage to get himself sent off in the home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, 2 November 2014 for raising his hands in anger at an opposition player.
The three match ban for violent conduct that ensued simply served to extend Villa’s winless run under Lambert to 9 matches before Benteke returned to win the game at Crystal Palace with a 32’ strike in the 1-0 victory on Tuesday, 2 December 2014.
In the following game, as Villa beat Leicester City 2-1, Benteke would contribute his first assist of the season for Alan Hutton to hit the winner but another five game winless run under Lambert continued with Benteke managing just one goal, an 18’ strike in the 1-1 home draw with Manchester United on Saturday, 20 December 2014.
Benteke’s only other goal under Lambert would come in the FA Cup 3rd Round win over Blackpool in which Villa toiled to 1-0 victory with Benteke hitting an 88’ winner to begin Villa’s journey to the 2015 FA Cup Final.
Lambert however was done, and his long overdue sacking came after another torrid five game winless run, scoring once and conceding twelve during which Lambert relegated Benteke to the substitutes bench for his final two games in charge.
With Lambert’s successor Tim Sherwood installed and a more positive, attacking football style being encouraged, Benteke was returned to the starting line up and despite early reverses, the Benteke of 2012-13 was briefly seen.
Creating one and scoring one in Villa’s crucial 2-1 home Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, 3 March 2015 before hitting a brace to help Villa’s go four goals to the good by halftime in the 4-0 victory at Sunderland on Saturday, 14 March 2015.
Benteke would then hit Villa’s consolation goal in the 1-3 loss at Manchester United on Saturday, 4 April 2015.
Benteke then hit a hat-trick in Villa’s home 3-3 draw with Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday, 7 April 2015.
Scored the winner in Villa’s 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, 11 April 2015.
Scored the opener in Villa’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley on Sunday, 19 April 2015.
Scored a brace in Villa’s 3-2 home win over Everton on Saturday, 2 May 2015 before scoring his final goal for the club on Saturday, 16 May 2015 - a consolation goal in the awful 1-6 defeat at Southampton.
Despite having regained his goalscoring form under Lambert’s successor it was clear that the short term impact of Sherwood’s motivational style - which had both commendably saved Villa from certain relegation and helped them reach the FA Cup final - was no longer enough to drive the club forward. It was therefore a great surprise to see Sherwood retained in post for the 2015-16 which inevitably ended in Villa’s first relegation in nearly 30 years.
Before that however a poorly run Villa were helpless to stop Benteke’s departure - at the third time of asking - with Liverpool paying £41,850,000 for the 24 year old Belgian who had scored 15, including 13 league goals and contributed two assists during his final season with Villa.
Whilst a Benteke-less Villa plummeted to relegation in 2015-16, Benteke fared little better, unable to replicate his Villa form with Liverpool he was soon shown the door and tumbled down the Premier League with Crystal Palace. With a resurgent Villa returning to the Premier League in 2019, and Benteke still only in his late 20’s it was a case of what might have been, and an unsettled youngster with better heads and management around him may have had a far better career to look back on.
Benteke had played under Paul Lambert, Scott Marshall & Andy Marshall and Tim Sherwood.