‘We’ll be like robots’ – Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke says the joy of scoring a goal will be ruined because of social distancing measures

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Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke has told talkSPORT that footballers will be like ‘robots’ when they celebrate goals in the future due to the strict measures set to remain in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the globe to an unprecedented halt, with sport no exception to that.

Christian Benteke has played in England for the past eight years

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Christian Benteke has played in England for the past eight years

‘Project Restart’ aims to bring back Premier League football and complete the 2019/20 season

Getty Images

‘Project Restart’ aims to bring back Premier League football and complete the 2019/20 season

The Bundesliga have confirmed they will return to action behind closed doors on May 16, while top-flight officials in this country are bidding to resume next month with ‘Project Restart’.

The proposal aims to have clubs train in small groups from May 18, with a return to matches pencilled in for three weeks later, with contact kept to an absolute minimum where possible.

And the Belgium international, who joined the Eagles in a £27million deal four years ago, has admitted the restrictions in place – which will mean no direct contact with teammates – will take away the ‘beauty of scoring’.

When quizzed by Adrian Durham on Drivetime about the topic he said: “I didn’t think about it like that, but it’s definitely going to be different.

Liverpool's need for speed: If goals is the question Christian Benteke isn't the answer

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Benteke failed to hit the ground running at Liverpool after a brilliant spell at Aston Villa
Ian Holloway launches passionate plea to not restart season

“There will be no emotion and we’ll be like robots. It will take away beauty of scoring, because it’s not just about celebrating with the players, but it’s the fans too. It will be ruined.”

Benteke first arrived at the Premier League in 2012 with Aston Villa, and was a big hit in the Midlands scoring 42 goals in 89 appearances.

That led to a £32.5million transfer to Liverpool in July 2015, but that proved to be a brief and disastrous spell for the 29-year-old, who found the net just nine times for the European giants.

The Reds recouped the vast majority of what they paid for Benteke a year later as he sealed another big-money move to Selhurst Park, where the forward has remained for the past four years.

Give COVID-19 the red card

The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…

STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.

The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

Discussing his nightmare spell at Anfield, Benteke added: “That’s a regret [what happened there]. I wish I could have had more time at Liverpool to prove myself and show a better Benteke.

“I will never forget this moment. At the end of my career I will take the good and the bad moments.

“It was my dream to play in the Premier League as a young kid, and at Aston Villa this is where I made my name.”