The Belgium and Aston Villa forward missed the World Cup with an Achilles injury but is hoping to return to his best form next season as he continues his rehabilitationAston Villa striker Christian Benteke believes he can return from his lengthy injury lay-off as a better player.
The powerful Belgium striker was forced to miss the World Cup in Brazil after rupturing an Achilles tendon during a training session in April.
Benteke will also be unavailable for the start of the new Premier League season as he continues his rehabilitation, but the 23-year-old remains confident he can enjoy success when he eventually returns to action.
"When the injury happened the doctor said that I have to be out for six months," Benteke told Villa's official website.
"Of course, I still believe I can come back more quickly but if it is six months and another month ... I have to take my time. It's a bad injury and I don't have to rush myself. I have to do the right treatment.
"What I can do is work as hard as I can to make sure that I come back better than before. Of course, I believe this.
"Will I be able to come back bigger, stronger, better than before? Yes - not bigger maybe, but better!"
Benteke had a successful start to life in England after joining Villa from Genk in 2012, scoring 29 goals in 60 Premier League appearances, but feels he still has more to offer.
"Always you seek to improve, as a player, as a person. This is my goal, to do better than the two past seasons," he added.
"First I have to focus on my rehab and then I have to do better for the team."
Reflecting on the moment his World Cup dream was ended, the former Standard Liege man continued: "Yes, there were tears when [the injury] happened but it's life. It was hard, of course, but life is hard sometimes. This then has to be your motivation.
"I never knew this injury before but I knew immediately that I was hurt and when I fell down it was horrible. It was a bad feeling, a bad sensation.
"The hardest thing for me was knowing I couldn't do what I love. Playing football is not just about the World Cup, it is playing football.
"I will be so happy when I am playing football again."