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Gradel relishing 'magical' World Cup experience

The 26-year-old suffered a knee ligament injury last March that kept him out for over six months, but has recovered to enjoy a fine season with Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne.

Gradel has found the net four times for Christophe Galtier's side this term and could feature for Ivory Coast at the World Cup after helping them go unbeaten in qualification for the tournament.

Sabri Lamouchi's men will take on Japan, Colombia and Greece in the group stages in Brazil and Gradel is eager to secure a place in the squad and fulfil a lifelong dream.

"Obviously I'm hoping to be involved. I have confidence in myself and my ability," Gradel told FIFA's official website.

"I'll keep working and make sure I don't have any regrets. I don't get to have the final say, but I'll make sure I give myself every chance.

"To take part in a World Cup would be a dream come true, and it doesn't happen to everyone.

"Some players have had fantastic careers without ever getting that opportunity. And this World Cup will be even more special because it's in Brazil. It's going to be magical."

But for now Gradel's attention is concentrated on helping fourth-placed Saint-Etienne overhaul Lille in the race to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.

He added: "We're having a fantastic season, and that's the only thing I'm focused on."