Witsel leaves Standard Liege to join Benfica

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

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.

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