Date:Friday March 15 2013
Name: Christian Benteke
Date of Birth: 3/12/1990
Former Clubs: Genk, Standard Liege, Kortrijk, Mechelen
League Appearances (Goals): 110 (41)
International Appearances (Goals): 10 (4)
Stat of the Day: Christian Benteke has scored 8 goals in 11 games for Aston Villa in 2013
Player Profile: Having gone from a young, raw talent to potential club hero in a matter of months, Christian Benteke is carrying the weight of Villa Park on his very broad shoulders. Paul Lambert can at least find some solace in the signing of Benteke, as his desire to predominantly develop the squad with youth over the summer has seemingly fallen flat on its face. Were it not for the influential performances of the Belgian striker, Villa would undoubtedly be long gone in this season`s tense relegation battle, and no matter what the outcome come May, Lambert will be laden with the painful task of convincing a prized asset that the grass is not always greener elsewhere. Bigger clubs will certainly be ready to pounce, and despite the strikers price tag doubling since his arrival last summer, any club willing to pay the money will have a very promising striker in their ranks.
Despite a slow start to the campaign, Benteke has consistently improved and despite his link up play stepping up a level, Villa just do not possess the quality around him for him to fully flourish. The young Belgian has battered and bullied many a backline into submission with a series of physical performances, highlighting his suitability to England`s top-flight, and it may be just as well QPR have Christopher Samba ready and able to step up to the battle on Saturday. The striker`s goalscoring exploits has seen him in line to become the first Villa player to score 20 goals in a season since Juan Pablo Angle in 2004 and should he achieve such a feat, Villa may well have the 22-year-old to thank for another season in the Premier League.
Christian Benteke came through the ranks at Belgian club JS Pierreuse from the tender age of six, before moving to Standard Liege in 2004 and Genk in 2006. He spent three initial years at Genk but only featured in ten games for the club before he rejoined Standard Liege in 2008, where he scored three goals in nine appearances.
Two loan spells kickstarted Benteke`s career as the striker scored nine goals in twenty-two games at KV Kortrijk in 2009/2010 and six goals in twenty-three games at KV Mechelen the following season. He returned to Belgian side Genk in 2011/2012 - playing against previous club Standard in his first game, which his new side won 3-0 - where he netted sixteen times in thirty six appearances.
Benteke`s international career began at a young age for Belgium, appearing twenty four times at youth level before making his senior debut in May 2010 against Bulgaria, after being picked for the squad by his coach at Kortrijk, Georges Leekens. He has already netted 16 goals in all competitions for Villa and looks set to give them a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League.
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Date:Friday March 15 2013
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