The Belgian striker, who has a buy-out clause of £32.5million, continues to be linked with a summer move to Liverpool but new Villa arrival Richards is eager for him to stay.
Richards told Sky Sports: "At the end of last season he was scoring goals for fun.
"I think when he's fit and happy he's one of the best strikers in the world, so having him stay would be massive for us. "Hopefully we can do that because he'd be a tough player to replace."
Richards wants world-class Benteke to stay with Aston Villa
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