WASHINGTON, DC (August 5, 2022) – DC United have signed Belgian international striker Christian Benteke from Crystal Palace in the English Premier League on a permanent transfer. Benteke will join the club as a Designated Player pending receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). The Blacks and Reds have signed Benteke on a two-and-a-half-year contract until 2024 with a club option in 2025.
“Christian is a top player who has played at the highest level for a long time,” said DC United head coach Wayne Rooney. “His experience and ability to score goals and help the team will be invaluable. It’s exciting for the team and myself to play him. He will make a huge difference.
Benteke joins DC United after spending the last 10 seasons in the English Premier League with Aston Villa, Liverpool and, most recently, Crystal Palace. The 31-year-old has scored 86 goals and registered 23 assists in 280 Premier League appearances.
Benteke has been with Crystal Palace for six seasons since signing on August 20, 2016 from Liverpool FC in a $34million deal. The striker made his debut for the London club on August 27, 2016 against Bournemouth in the Premier League. Benteke scored his first goal for Crystal Palace the following game on 10 September 2016 in a 2–1 win over Middlesbrough. During his time at Crystal Palace, the Belgian scored 37 goals and registered 12 assists in 177 appearances in all competitions.
“We have worked hard over the past few weeks to attract talent to strengthen our squad,” said Dave Kasper, president of football operations for DC United. “Being able to bring in a world-class player from Christian [Benteke] caliber is a huge testament to what goes on behind the scenes at the club and our ability to attract top talent from around the world. We have been extremely active in the transfer window bringing in six players and since the appointment of Wayne Rooney as head coach we believe we have taken important steps in building a roster that can both make an effort to finish this season strong and lay the foundations for us to move forward.
Prior to joining Crystal Palace, Benteke spent the 2015-16 season with English powerhouse Liverpool FC after signing the striker for $51 million from Aston Villa on July 22, 2015. In one season with the Reds, Benteke scored 10 goals and registered six assists in 42 appearances in all competitions. He scored his first goal for the club on 17 August 2015 in a 1–0 win over AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League.
“We are getting an elite striker in Christian [Benteke] and completing this signing on transfer deadline day is a huge achievement for the club,” said DC United chief executive Lucy Rushton. “Christian is a dynamic striker who has scored goals at the highest level. His strength and power will make him a central point in our team and his ability to chain plays will be a valuable asset for us. We are delighted to have Christian integrated into the team so that he can make an immediate impact on the pitch in the final part of the season.
Benteke became one of the world’s most beloved strikers during his time with Aston Villa in the Premier League after joining the club from KRC Genk in a $9million transfer on August 31, 2012. The Belgian marked his first goal for the club on his debut against Swansea on September 15, 2012 in the Premier League. In his first season at Villa, Benteke scored 19 goals and registered four assists in the Premier League. He has scored the fourth most league goals this season behind Robin Van Persie (Manchester United), Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC) and Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur). In three seasons at Villa, Benteke scored 49 goals and registered 12 assists in 101 appearances in all competitions.
Benteke has been a stalwart of the Belgian national team since his debut on May 19, 2010, aged 19. The striker has scored 18 goals and registered three assists in 45 appearances for Belgium. He scored his first goal for Belgium in a 4–2 win over the Netherlands on August 15, 2012 in an international friendly. Benteke was also on the roster for two UEFA Euro tournaments, making three appearances for his country in 2016 and 2020. His last appearance for Belgium came in the 3-0 win over Burkina Faso on March 29 2022, and he recorded an assist in the game.
The 31-year-old started his professional career with KRC Genk in the Belgian First Division (Jupiler League) after joining their youth academy from Standard de Liège (Belgium) in 2006. Benteke made his professional debut aged 17 in a game against Saint-Trond on 22 February 2008. He made 10 appearances for Genk before joining his former club Standard de Liège on 1 January 2009. The forward scored three goals and registered two assists in 11 appearances for Standard Liège in the 2008-09 and was loaned to fellow Belgian side KV Kortrijk on August 7, 2009. In one season, Benteke scored 16 goals and registered nine assists in 37 appearances as he led Kortrijk to the one of their best finishes in club history. On June 30, 2010, Benteke was recalled from his loan and sent on another season-long loan to KV Mechelen (Belgium). In a year at Mechelen, the striker scored seven goals and registered one assist in 20 appearances before returning from his loan spell on June 30, 2011. During his various spells at Liège, Benteke scored a total of three goals and registered three assists in 25 appearances. . The Belgian was sold to Genk on August 31, 2011 and scored 20 goals and registered 11 assists in two seasons before moving to Aston Villa on August 31, 2012.
Player: Christian Benteke
Place of birth: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Status: Designated Player
Transaction: DC United have signed Belgium national team striker Christian Benteke from Crystal Palace on a permanent transfer. Benteke will join the club as a Designated Player pending receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). The Blacks and Reds have signed Benteke on a two-and-a-half-year contract until 2024 with a club option in 2025.
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