Atlético Madrid: Five reasons why Yannick Carrasco is set to leave
Having failed to live up to his early promise at Atlético Madrid, Yannick Carrasco looks poised to leave for Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.
We take a look at some of the reasons why the talented Belgian, who has scored 23 goals and supplied 17 assists in 123 games for Atleti, is set for the exit:
Carrasco has never been known for his consistency; quite the contrary. He's a player who comes to life in fits and starts. He dazzled in the Champions League final in Milan, wreaking havoc on the Real Madrid defence, but has never been able to perform that way week in, week out. He has blown far too hot and cold.
2. Relationship with Atlético team-mates:
Not a straightforward character, the 24-year-old has got himself embroiled in his fair share of dressing-room spats during his time in Madrid. He has always stood slightly apart from the rest of the squad, with Atlético's senior players regularly pointing the finger at the winger for a perceived lack of commitment to both the club and his team-mates. Never just 'one of the lads'.
3. Diego Simeone:
Carrasco's relationship with the club's head coach, Diego Simeone, has also not been without its problems. Having placed huge faith in the footballer, 'El Cholo' has repeatedly been left tearing his hair out at the former Monaco man's performances, even expressing his unhappiness publicly. As this season has progressed, Carrasco has drifted further and further towards the fringes.
The purchase of Vitolo has placed a major obstacle in Carrasco's path to the team. Though yet to definitively establish himself since arriving at the Wanda Metropolitano in January, the Spain international was a signing expressly requested by Simeone. It's only a matter of time before Vitolo settles into the side, and that was only going to further reduce the game time given to Carrasco.
5. World Cup year:
Having fallen down the pecking order at Atlético Madrid, Carrasco knows he has to find regular football if he's to make sure of his berth in Belgium's squad for this summer's World Cup. In China, he ought to get the minutes that he's been lacking; a place on the plane to Russia is at stake.