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Yannick Carrasco celebrates 23rd birthday

The Belgium international is one of Atleti’s brightest young stars

CD Leganes v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

As international break and the tedium contained therein rolls on, we take a few moments today to wish Yannick Ferreira Carrasco a very happy 23rd birthday.

The Belgian has just started his second season with Atletico but it became evident how important he is to Diego Simeone shortly after he joined from Monaco in a 20 million euro transfer. A scintillating cameo in last October’s Madrid Derby showcased Carrasco’s blazing speed and vision. After a goal at Real Sociedad following an international break he found himself entrenched in the XI and finished with four goals in 31 league appearances. As the season unfolded the winger found himself used more often as a game-changing substitute, especially in the Champions League, where his presence helped Atleti fend off Bayern Munich in the semifinals and his goal in the final eventually forced a shootout.

This summer, Carrasco was handed the #10 shirt after Oliver Torres returned to Porto and it is a logical even if unexpected choice. Aside from the aforementioned speed and vision, YFC’s directness and versatility (he can play as a winger or a second striker in a 4-4-2 or as a wide forward in a 4-3-3) helps him bring something different to Simeone’s Atletico. He figures to underline further his importance to the team this season. And at 23 years old, he may just be getting started.

Bon anniversaire, Yannick!