From League One to heading the Belgian top flight, Portsmouth favourite continuing to thrive in his overseas football adventure

Christian Burgess exchanged Pompey for a Belgian adventure in July 2020.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 1:12 pm
The successful times for Christian Burgess have continued in since moving to Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in July 2020. Picture: Joe Pepler

Now he’s in the hunt for his second title in two remarkable years at Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.

The Brussels-based club have this season emerged as serious contenders to claim the Jupiler Pro League.

Despite being their first campaign back in the top flight, they are vying with Club Brugge at the top of the table.

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Indeed, a 2-1 triumph over Zulte Waregem on Saturday, in which Burgess featured, catapulted Union to the summit.

That was until Brugge emphatically defeated Gent 6-1 the following day to leapfrog above them.

Nonetheless, after eight matches, Burgess and his team-mates remain above Belgian giants Anderlecht, Standard Liege and Genk in the table.

It has been a sensational start to the season for Union following a record-breaking promotion in Burgess’ maiden campaign.

They romped to the First Division B title with a record points total, all-time number of wins and record number of consecutive victories.

In addition, Burgess was an ever-present as they were unbeaten at the Stade Joseph Marien all season, losing just two divisional games in the campaign for another record.

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Despite that tremendous success, the former Pompey man found himself on the bench for the opening five matches of this season.

However, he earned a recall for last month’s 4-0 win over Standard Liege and has now started their last three fixtures.

Turning 30 next month, Burgess’ contact with Union is scheduled to expire at the season’s end, but his continued worth is clearly evident.

He previously spent five years at Fratton Park, making 210 appearances and scoring 12 times.

During that period, Burgess claimed the League Two title, the Checkatrade Trophy, reached two League One play-off semi-finals and was recognised as The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season for 2019-20.

He turned down the opportunity to extend his Pompey stay under Kenny Jackett in favour of testing himself in the Belgian game, moving on a free transfer to Union in July 2020.

Some questioned the logic of the ex-Middlesbrough man’s decision at the time, yet Burgess continues to thrive in his newest challenge.

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