Former Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco has openly acknowledged that his move to Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab is driven, at least in part, by financial considerations.
Carrasco expressed his gratitude to Atletico Madrid fans in an open letter on his Instagram account, recognizing their role in his growth as both a player and an individual.
Upon returning to Europe for Belgium’s upcoming international fixtures, Carrasco proactively requested to hold a press conference to provide an explanation for his decision.
In response to Jordan Henderson’s interview with the Athletic, in which Henderson asserted that he didn’t make his support of LGBTQIA+ groups hypocritical and denied moving for financial reasons, Carrasco addressed the notion that he had relocated for money. Carrasco was forthright about his intentions.
Prior to his move to Al-Shabab Carrasco also played in China for a time
“You have to put yourself in the position of a player sometimes. I’m 30 years old, it was my last year of contract at Madrid. I had a concrete offer, it [Al Shabab’s] was the only one. I opted for security. Is it a financial choice? Everything goes together: being a footballer is a job. We have to think twice. If there is an injury, it can get difficult, especially since we play a lot of matches.”
“We are sometimes afraid of getting injured and in these cases, we do not play relaxed. A player must be mentally freed. It was not easy to make the decision, I am towards at the end of my career. I still have the qualities to play for a big club but if there is an injury, it can quickly change. It’s safety above all else.”
Carrasco was also questioned about Saudi Arabia’s troubling human rights record, which includes the execution of individuals based on their sexuality and instances of journalists being murdered by the Saudi regime.
However, during his 48-hour visit to Saudi Arabia, the Belgian did not personally witness any of these issues.
“Human rights violated in Saudi Arabia? I don’t support what the organisations are saying. I see that Cristiano Ronaldo and his wife normally live there. The other players too.”
“I was there, I saw what the women are like there, how people walk around. Honestly, it’s a beautiful country. I didn’t see anything special regarding the subject when I went there.”