Wayne Rooney lauds ‘invaluable’ Christian Benteke characteristics after signing Crystal Palace striker for DC United

Christian Benteke with Crystal Palace

Christian Benteke has left Crystal Palace to head to the MLS, where he will play under Wayne Rooney for DC United.

Benteke had been with Crystal Palace since 2016, when they brought him in from Liverpool. Over the six seasons that followed, he provided 37 goals from 177 appearances. However, he only scored four times in the Premier League last season.

There had been reports that he could be on his way out after it. For example, the former Aston Villa man was tipped to head back to the Midlands with Wolves. Instead, he will be putting the Premier League behind him.

Benteke has signed with MLS outfit DC United, who are of course managed by Rooney. Joining as a Designated Player, he has agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract, until the end of 2024. His new club can extend the deal by a further year should they wish.

Explaining what Benteke will bring to the club from the American capital, Rooney pointed to his experience at a high level.

He told DCUnited.com: “Christian is a top player who has played at the highest level for a long time.

“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.”

Crystal Palace bid farewell to Christian Benteke

Back at Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish thanked Benteke for his loyal service.

Parish said, via CPFC.co.uk: “Christian has played a crucial role in this club’s Premier League journey, making an immediate impact after signing and playing a central role in the squad ever since.

“He’s someone I’ve enjoyed a great relationship with and he’s shown incredible loyalty staying with the club when he could easily have taken other options. We all wish him all the very best with the next stage of his career.”

Still only 31 years old, Benteke could have an exciting time ahead of him in the USA. Although the goals have dried up for him in recent Premier League seasons, he is still a capable marksman.

Indeed, he hit double figures of Premier League goals in five of the 10 seasons he spent in the division. Now, a new challenge awaits him across the pond.

Palace, meanwhile, still have the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew and Odsonne Edouard among their key attacking options. Hence, they should not feel Benteke’s absence too much.