[USA-BELGIUM] A survey of national teams last year ranked Belgium's national team lineup as the third most expensive in the world at $231 million, behind only Brazil and Portugal, and that was before Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg paid the ridiculous sum of $56 million to Benfica for midfielder Axel Witsel. No player has seen his stock rise higher this year than forward Christian Benteke, who is expected to lead the Red Devils attack against the USA on Wednesday.
Aston Villa bought Benteke from Genk last summer for $10 million, but Villa manager Paul Lambert says someone will have to offer $40 million for Villa to listen to an offer for the 22-year-old striker who scored 19 EPL goals in 34 games and relegated Darren Bent to the bench.
Benteke has three years left on his contract with Aston Villa, but he already talked of moving on -- which didn't sit well with Lambert.
"If Aston Villa say I must stay," Benteke was quoted in the Belgian paper Nieuwsblad as saying, "I won't necessarily accept that. I do not in any way want to feel I didn't get the most out of my career."
Lambert says Benteke has a lot to learn -- and was lucky not to suffer in his first year in England the ups and downs all strikers endure.
"I think sometimes we've got to have a reality check here," Lambert told talkSPORT. "This lad's only been in Britain for 10 months."
Benteke was born in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, but father, who was in the military, thought the country was too dangerous for his children to grow up in, so they moved to Liege, where Benteke's uncle lived, when he was 3.
He grew up speaking French with his father but Lingala with his mother. He credits playing the skills so many of the Belgian players have on playing soccer in the streets -- where he played with Witsel.
He debuted for Genk at the age of 17 but bounced around to Standard Liege, Courtrai and Mechelen before enjoying a breakout season with Genk in 2011-12 when he scored 19 goals.
Red Devils in the EPL:
GK *Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
GK Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)
CB Vincent Kompany(Man. City)
CB Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal)
LB Jan Vertonghen(Tottenham)
M Moussa Dembele(Tottenham)
M Marouane Fellaini(Everton)
M Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
F Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
F **Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
F Kevin Mirallas(Everton)
*Played on loan to Atletico Madrid in 2012-13
**Played on loan to West Bromwich in 2012-13