WASHINGTON, DC (August 5, 2022) - D.C. United have signed Belgian International forward 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 Black-and-Red have signed Benteke on a two-and-a-half-year deal through 2024 with a club option in 2025.
“Christian is a top player who has played at the highest level for a long time,” Wayne Rooney, D.C. United Head Coach, said. “His experience and ability to score goals and help the team will be invaluable. It’s exciting for the team and myself to get him in and playing. He will make a huge difference.”
Benteke joins D.C. 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 recorded 23 assists in 280 Premier League Appearances.
Benteke has been with Crystal Palace for the last six seasons since signing on Aug. 20, 2016, from Liverpool FC in a $34 million deal. The forward made his debut for the London club on Aug. 27, 2016 against Bournemouth in the Premier League. Benteke scored his first goal for Crystal Palace the following game on Sep. 10, 2016 in a 2-1 win against Middlesbrough. During his time with Crystal Palace, the Belgian scored 37 goals and recorded 12 assists in 177 appearances across all competitions.
“We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to bring in talent to bolster our squad,” Dave Kasper, D.C. United President of Soccer Operations, said. “Being able to bring in a world class player of Christian’s [Benteke] caliber is a huge testament to what’s going on behind the scenes at the club and our ability to draw top talent globally. We have been extremely active in the transfer window bringing in six players and since Wayne Rooney’s appointment as our Head Coach we believe we have made major steps in putting together a roster that can both make a push to finish this season strong and build a foundation for us moving forward.”
Prior to joining Crystal Palace, Benteke spent the 2015-16 season with English powerhouse Liverpool FC after signing the forward for $51 million from Aston Villa on July 22, 2015. In one season with the Reds, Benteke scored 10 goals and recorded six assists in 42 appearances across all competitions. He scored his first goal for the club on Aug. 17, 2015 in a 1-0 win against 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 accomplishment for the club,” Lucy Rushton, D.C. United General Manager, said. “Christian is a dynamic forward who has scored goals at the highest levels. His strength and power will make him a focal point of our team and his ability to link-up play will be a valuable asset to us. We are excited to get Christian integrated with the team so he can make an immediate impact on the field in the final stretch of the season.”
Benteke became one of the most valued strikers in the world during his time with Aston Villa in the Premier League after joining the club from KRC Genk in a $9 million transfer on Aug. 31, 2012. The Belgian scored his first goal for the club in his debut against Swansea on Sept. 15, 2012 in Premier League play. In his first season at Villa, Benteke scored 19 goals and recorded four assists in the Premier League. He had the fourth most goals in the league that 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 recorded 12 assists in 101 appearances across all competitions.
Benteke has been a stalwart with the Belgium National Team since making his debut on May 19, 2010, at 19-years-old. The forward has scored 18 goals and recorded three assists in 45 appearances for Belgium. He scored his first goal for Belgium in a 4-2 win against the Netherlands on Aug. 15, 2012 in an International Friendly. Benteke was also a part of the roster for two UEFA Euro tournaments, making three appearances for his country in 2016 and 2020. His most recent appearance for Belgium came in the 3-0 win against Burkina Faso on March 29, 2022, and he recorded an assist in the match.
The 31-year-old started his professional career with K.R.C. Genk in the Belgian first division (Jupiler League) after joining their youth academy from Standard Liege (Belgium) in 2006. Benteke made his professional debut at 17-years-old in a match against Sint-Truiden on Feb. 22, 2008. He made 10 appearances for Genk before rejoining his former club, Standard Liege, on Jan. 1, 2009. The forward scored three goals and recorded two assists in 11 appearances for Standard Liege in the 2008-09 season and was loaned to fellow Belgian side KV Kortrijk on Aug. 7, 2009. In one season, Benteke scored 16 goals and recorded nine assists in 37 appearances as he led Kortrijk to one of their best finishes in club history. On June 30, 2010, Benteke was recalled from his loan and sent out on another season-long loan to KV Mechelen (Belgium). In one year at Mechelen, the forward scored seven goals and recorded one assist in 20 appearances before returning from his loan on June 30, 2011. In his various spells at Liege, Benteke scored a total of three goals and recorded three assists in 25 appearances. The Belgian was sold back to Genk on Aug. 31, 2011 and scored 20 goals and recorded 11 assists in two seasons before being transferred to Aston Villa on Aug. 31, 2012.
Player: Christian Benteke
Birthplace: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Weight: 183 lbs
Status: Designated Player
Transaction: D.C. United Sign Belgium National Team forward 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 Black-and-Red have signed Benteke on a two-and-a-half-year deal through 2024 with a club option in 2025.