World Cup 2018

Carrasco not giving up on World Cup dream after CSL switch

Belgium international Yannick Carrasco, 24, is still dreaming of the World Cup following his move to China's Dalian Yifang.

Carrasco not giving up on World Cup dream after CSL switch

Yannick Carrasco is still confident of featuring at the upcoming World Cup in Russia, despite leaving Atletico Madrid for the Chinese Super League.

Double Atlético swoop for CSL

Carrasco and Nicolas Gaitan swapped LaLiga's Atletico for CSL side Dalian Yifang for a combined fee reportedly worth €48million.

The pair join former West Ham defender Jose Fonte at the China League One champions.

And 24-year-old Belgium international Carrasco is still dreaming of the World Cup following his move to China, where countryman Axel Witsel, as well as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Mascherano, Hulk, Oscar, Ramires, Renato Augusto, Alexandre Pato, Anthony Modeste and Graziano Pelle all call home, at least for the moment.

17/01/18 | Carrasco and Simeone during Atlético vs Sevilla cup match.

"My distance from the European continent does not mean that my ambition to participate in the World Cup is reduced," he said.

"I will make the necessary efforts to show the coach of the Belgian team that I am ready to participate in the World Cup in Russia this summer."

Modern, booming league attracts Carrasco

Carrasco made 17 LaLiga appearances for Atletico this season, scoring three goals for Diego Simeone's men.

"The Chinese championship is booming, the working conditions are excellent, the new infrastructures are modern and they are available for both players and fans," Carrasco said.  "The level of play improves every season.

"I am very happy and eager to join my new teammates at Dalian Yifang in the coming days. The project and offer of the club are a great sign of confidence and respect, and represent an opportunity to develop my qualities and my future."

"Along with Hulk, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi, [Fabio] Capello and, of course, my friend [Axel] Witsel, I will contribute to the development of football in a country that is passionate about football," he continued.

Personal development an extra goal

"Beyond football, which remains my priority, this country also offers me the opportunity to develop personally and also on professional projects that are important to me."

Dalian Yifang announced the signings of Carrasco and Gaitan on Tuesday in a statement which read: "As a Belgium international winger, Carrasco is noted for his ability to use both feet, his speed, and his mesmerising dribbling.

"Moreover, Carrasco has attracted interest from European powerhouse such as Barcelona and Chelsea. And Gaitan is a highly technical Argentina international known for his brilliant left foot and vision on the field. He is also a magnificent free-kick taker."