Football: Witsel leaves Standard Liege to join Benfica

13 July 2011 04:00

Belgian international midfielder Axel Witsel has left Standard Liege to join Benfica, the Belgian club announced on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old, who has scored five times in 19 international appearances, has signed a five-year deal with the Lisbon club.

Financial details of the move have not been released, although media reports suggest that Benfica paid a transfer fee of between 7 million and 8 million euros ($9.9m and $11.3m).

Witsel, who had also been linked with a possible move to Manchester United, had been with Standard Liege since he was 10 years old.

He helped them to two Belgian championships in 2008 -- when he was elected best player in Belgium -- and 2009, as well as this year's Belgian Cup.

With Eden Hazard (Lille) and Steven Defour (Standard), Witsel is considered one of the great hopes of Belgian football.

Source: AFP

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