There are plenty of less-than-complimentary words thrown around when people are forced from one country to another. New arrivals are condemned as part of an ‘influx’, different nationalities and identities dismissed as being by their very nature just that: different.
There are countless examples in football, as in so much of life, proving that this exposure to interesting ideas and cultures can lead to so many good things. Christian Benteke is one of these examples.
His story encapsulates this idea both on and off the pitch, from his disorientating arrival in Europe as part of the Congolese diaspora and his subsequent embrace into a welcoming community, to his domineering arrival into the Premier League as part of Belgian’s ‘golden generation’ and subsequent enriching of the world’s most renowned footballing competition.
It takes luck, yes, and it certainly takes bravery. But what becomes clear from Benteke’s story is how much hard work is involved, too.