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 By Ian Holyman

Eden Hazard backs Yannick Carrasco's Chinese Super League move

Eden Hazard has defended Belgium teammate Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco's decision to move to Chinese club Dalian Yifang.

Ferreira-Carrasco, 24, made the switch last month after falling out of favour at Atletico Madrid, where he made eight La Liga starts this season.

But Chelsea's Hazard believes he had good reason to follow the example of fellow international Axel Witsel, who rejected Juventus to join Tianjin Quanjian last January 2017, and says it will have no impact on Belgium's World Cup chances.

"I'm not inside Yannick's head, but I know that he wanted to leave Atletico Madrid," Hazard was quoted as saying by La Derniere Heure.

"Perhaps China was the only option to leave. By staying at Atletico until the end of the season, perhaps he wouldn't have played at all.

"In China, it's certain he'll play a lot. Frankly, it's better to have playing time in China than be on the bench in La Liga.

"It seems a bizarre choice but he has his reasons, I'm sure of that. I don't have any problem with those [Red] Devils who go to China.

"Axel has been playing there for a few months, and he's always at his best when he comes back to play with us. I think it'll be the same with Yannick.

"And the World Cup starts in just three months. You don't lose your level in football in such a short span of time. So, I really don't have any problem with Yannick's transfer.

"We're going to the World Cup to go a long way, and the winter transfer window has not changed our plans at all."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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