This summer’s World Cup will see plenty of top players not taking part, and that’s not because their countries haven’t qualified.
Christian Benteke joined the long list of notable absentees in Brazil, as Aston Villa’s Belgian striker ruptured his Achilles in training on Thursday and will now be out of action for a minimum of six months.
Benteke, 23, has been in and out of the treatment room all season and has struggled for form since singing a new long-term deal with Villa last summer. Releasing a statement following Benteke’s injury, Villa had the following to say on their website.
“Christian Benteke will undergo surgery after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon injury today in training. He will be out for a minimum of six months.”
Villa manger Paul Lambert will also be missing his star striker for the run-in, and a big chunk of next season, as the Birmingham club still aren’t clear of the bottom three with the final few weeks of the season left to play.
“It’s a terrible blow both for Christian and for the Club,” Lambert said. “He will miss the rest of the season, obviously, and also the World Cup. But he’ll work hard because that’s what he does and he’ll come back for us stronger than ever next season.”
That damaging blow to Belgium’s World Cup hopes in Brazil this summer comes after Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is racing to be fit, while Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman has been sidelined and an injury to England’s Theo Walcott has halted his involvement in the showpiece tournament.
Belgium will miss Benteke’s presence up front, as his partnership with Romelu Lukaku gives Diables Rouge phenomenal power going forward. But Benteke has time on his side. However the big Belgian will be heartbroken to miss out on being the focal point of his nation’s burgeoning side in the tournament they’ve worked so hard to qualify for.