Alessandro Diamanti assures he’ll “work every day to earn my place” at the World Cup after joining Guangzhou Evergrande.
The Italy international completed a transfer from Bologna to China  last week, where he’ll work with Coach Marcello Lippi.
“It was a lifestyle choice,” he told Sky Sport Italia and Radio Deejay. “My wife is Chinese and I wanted to deepen my knowledge of this culture. Plus I’m from Prato and there is a huge Chinese community there.
“Lippi really wanted me there and I am joining a club that won everything this year. I go with a great deal of enthusiasm.
“Clearly I am also going to get paid very well, but what really interested me was a new experience. My priority was to challenge myself all over again in a new environment.”
Now that he is out of the big European Leagues, does Diamanti fear he’ll miss out on Italy’s World Cup campaign?
“I will work with an Italian staff, so my fitness levels will be the same. I will work every day to earn my place in the Azzurri jersey.”
Diamanti finally left Bologna after the January transfer window had closed, leaving the club somewhat high and dry.
“I had many offers during my three years at Bologna, but China was a new adventure. I had done well abroad at West Ham, so wanted to try myself out overseas again.
“I salute the Bologna fans and the city I will always love. The emotions linking me to Bologna will never end.”