MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 29: England defender Steven Caulker (L) battles with Belguim forward Christian Benteke during the UEFA Under-21 Euro 2013 Group 8 Qualifier between England U-21 and Belguim U-21 at the Riverside on February 29, 2012 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
In news that can only be described as "really bad", Aston Villa's big summer signing Christian Benteke has been charged with robbery and assault in connection with a car-jacking incident in Liege last fall. Aston Villa has confirmed that they are "aware of the investigation relating to an incident which occurred in November 2011." Which is...comforting? I guess?
It may surprise you to learn that I am not an expert on Belgian criminal law, but given the circumstances as described it sounds like the prosecution may have some trouble making this one stick. There seems to be consensus that Benteke did not partake in the assault portion of the evening's festivities, and the story his lawyers seem to be pushing is that he wasn't aware of what was going to happen until it did. I find myself quite skeptical of that claim, but it seems like it would be rather difficult to prove otherwise.
So, at the moment I'm not especially worried about the possibility of our new star signing missing significant playing time due to his being behind bars. But at the very least it's clear that Benteke does not always make the best choices in his personal life, and seeing as how Aston Villa has invested a fair amount of money in him that's more than a little bit of a concern. If the version of the story in the linked is true, I'm not going to go off on a big moral tangent. I can kind of see how Benteke's friends were upset. But that doesn't excuse beating the guy half to death and stealing his car, nor does it in any way merit Benteke's inclusion.
So please, Christian. Make better choices. Make better friends. And make sure you've got some decent lawyers.