Born in Liege, Axel Witsel made his first football steps through Standard’s academies where in five years he scored 34 goals, won the Belgian Pro League twice (2007 – 08, 2008 – 09), the Belgian Cup (2010 – 2011) and the Belgium’s Golden Shoe and Young Footballer of the Year awards in 2008. SL Benfica noticed his great talent and signed the promising midfielder on July 2011.
Almost a year later, Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg signed the versatile midfielder on a and on his third year in Russia he won the Russian championship and the Russian Super Cup against Lokomotiv Moscow. In 2016, he quadrupled his trophies after winning the Russian Cup and the Super Cup, both against CSKA Moscow.
Axel currently competes in the Chinese Super League and the Asian Champions League with Tianjin Quanjian F.C.
He is a key player of the Belgian National team for ten years and already counting 89 apps and two major tournaments (World Cup 2014, UEFA Euro 2016). He scored a vital second goal in the group stage of Euro 2016 against the Republic of Ireland and was named man of the match after a 3-1 win. In 2018 he won the Goal of the Year 2017 award in Belgium after his spectacular bicycle kick against Gibraltar, at his home ground, Sclessin stadium.