February 26, 2018 / 7:34 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer - Atletico sell Carrasco, Gaitan to Dalian Yifang in China

MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid have sold midfielders Yannick Carrasco and Nico Gaitan to Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang for undisclosed fees with immediate effect, the Liga side said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Santander La Liga - Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid - San Mames, Bilbao, Spain - September 20, 2017 Atletico Madrid's Yannick Carrasco celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Vincent West

Reports in the Spanish media say Dalian Yifang will pay 18 million euros ($22 million) for Argentine Gaitan. The 30-year-old joined Atletico in June 2016 from Portuguese giants Benfica for a reported 25 million euros but has only started two games this season.

Belgium international Carrasco, 24, will cost Dalian 30 million euros, according to reports.

Carrasco made 124 appearances for Atletico since joining from Monaco in 2015, scoring 23 goals and providing 17 assists.

FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Benfica press conference - Champions League - Petrovsky stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia - 08/03/16 Benfica's Nico Gaitan attends a news conference prior to their Champions League soccer match against Zenit St. Petersburg. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

He also scored in the 2016 Champions League final against Real Madrid, which ended 1-1 after extra-time with Atletico losing 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out.

The sale of the two players, which Atletico will unable to replace until the summer transfer window opens, means Diego Simeone’s side have only 17 outfield players left in their first team squad for the remainder of the season as they challenge for the Liga title and the Europa League.

Atletico are second in the Liga standings, seven points behind leaders Barcelona who they face in a top-of-the-table showdown on Sunday.

($1 = 0.8124 euros)

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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