• Premier League

Courtois: Benteke 'great' Falcao replacement

ESPN staff
June 4, 2013
Christian Benteke has attracted a wide amount of interest after scoring 19 Premier League goals at Aston Villa © PA Photos

Thibaut Courtois would like to see his Belgium international team-mate Christian Benteke sign for Atletico Madrid.

Benteke's 19 goals in 34 Premier League games for Aston Villa last season have seen him linked with a host of English sides including Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City, while Atletico's interest appeared when his agent, Kismet Eris, reportedly attended May's Copa del Rey final as a guest of the Liga club.

With Radamel Falcao having left for Monaco last week, Los Colchoneros are in the market for a new striker and Courtois told AS that Benteke would be a "great" option.

"He is a very strong centre-forward, tall, but very good technically and skilful with the ball at his feet," Courtois said. "I believe he would be a great signing for Atletico. During these days with the national team I am going to ask him about his future. There is talk of various teams interested in him, and maybe he will stay in England."

Courtois is well placed to judge Benteke's qualities and progression as a player, as the pair know each other well since their time together in Genk's youth system.

"I know him well, we played together when we were younger," the on-loan Chelsea player said. "Benteke is a player who has worked a lot, he left Genk and had various loan spells which have helped him grow. His 11-12 season with Genk was sensational and that lead to the Premier League noticing him."

The goalkeeper, who still hopes to return to the Estadio Vicente Calderon for a third year on loan next season, said he had enjoyed playing alongside Falcao these last two campaigns and he hoped the Colombian hitman was now successful in France.

"I am proud of having played with him," Courtois said. "Before arriving at Atletico I had suffered at his hands in the Europa League and afterwards it was a pleasure to have him as a team-mate. He made me enjoy myself a lot, and as a person I loved his humility. I wish him lots of luck at Monaco."

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