Christian Benteke is sponsored by:
Palace broke their club record transfer fee to bring in the Belgian hitman from Liverpool in August 2016, and he made his debut in the EFL Cup second round tie against Blackpool.
Born in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, his family moved to Liege where he played his youth football before moving to Genk who handed him his professional debut. After two years trying to break into their first-team, he moved to Standard Liege and chipped in with three goals in nine appearances to help them win the championship in his first season.
A season on loan at Kortrijk saw him hit 14 more in Belgium’s top tier and was rewarded with his first international call-up at the end of that season. However he was sent on loan once again to Mechelen and later returned to Genk for the start of the 2011/12 season. It proved to be an inspired move as Benteke plundered 16 goals and nine assists from just 20 starts.
Three more strikes in the opening five games of the 2012/13 season followed, and that was enough for Aston Villa to come calling with a £7 million offer and Benteke was on his way to the Premier League, and marked his arrival in England by scoring against Swansea City on his Villa debut.
He continued to take the division by storm and at the end of his first season in Birmingham he had amassed 19 Premier League goals, beating Dwight Yorke’s Villa record of 18 in a single season. He was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award but came second to Gareth Bale and was eventually rewarded with a new four-year contract.
Benteke would hit double figures in the league for the following two seasons but was cruelly denied a chance to represent Belgium at the 2014 World Cup after missing six months with an achilles injury, and reached the FA Cup final with Villa 12 months later where they were beaten by Arsenal.
That summer Liverpool splashed out £32.5 million to make the hitman their second highest-ever transfer ever behind Andy Carroll. Things began well for him on Merseyside as he notched on his Anfield debut against Bournemouth and then scored a wonderful acrobatic bicycle kick against Manchester United, but following the arrival of Jurgen Klopp he saw his first-team opportunities become limited.
Despite that, he still managed to contribute 10 goals in all competitions, earning him a spot in the Belgium squad for Euro 2016 and played twice in the wins against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden in the group stage.