Valentin Castellanos, the Argentine forward of New York City FC, is living the most special and unforgettable days.
Two Sundays ago, Castellanos became the first player from his club to win the MLS Golden Shoe as a scoring champion of the 2021 season. No Argentine footballer had ever won the trophy. And then this Friday, the talented forward affectionately nicknamed “Taty” had the biggest surprise of his life.
As he was being celebrated in the NYCFC locker room by his teammates, including remote messages from family and friends, his mother appeared by surprise with the Golden Boot in hand. “Taty” could not with the emotion when she saw Marilú enter the door, with whom he melted into a moving embrace.
“Amazing. It was a surprise this morning that I was not expecting it, it was brought to me by my mother who came from Argentina“The soccer player said in an interview with El Diario, who said he was extremely shocked.
“It was a job for the whole club to bring her in and for her to give me the boot was a huge joy, so I was very excited.”
Castellanos, 23, recalled that his mother saw him grow up with the ball, like his four brothers.
“He has helped me a lot since I was a kid. He has made a lot of effort so that today he is here, the values that he also taught me have no remedy to return them, so today the only joy I can give him is with these things ”.
The burning season finale of Valentín Castellanos
Castellanos obtained the scoring title on the final day of the season or “Decision Day” in the MLS by scoring with a header in a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium. Although DC United’s Ola Kamara also finished with 19 touchdowns, the Argentine took the prize by virtue of his 8 assists, against 5 for the Norwegian player.
It is an enormous joy, that I am completely enjoying it ”, said Castellanos in the interview. “I never imagined it, but hey, I never stopped dreaming. So very happy for this that is happening to me ”.
The last four winners of the MLS Golden Boot are Latin Americans: Josef Martinez of Venezuela, Carlos Vela of Mexico, Diego Rossi of Uruguay and now Castellanos.
Plus, NYCFC jersey 11 was named MLS Player of the Month and is a candidate for the season’s MVP award, especially for its spectacular tournament closing. That goal against the Union gave the “Blues” fourth place in the Eastern Conference (51 points).
Castellanos, born in Mendoza, came to MLS in the 2018 season from soccer in Uruguay and from the beginning he contributed to his club.
In 2019 he played in 30 games, 23 as a starter, and registered 11 goals and 7 assists to establish himself in the league. But then in 2020 came the COVID-19 pandemic and everything was more difficult.
“Yes, it was complicated, that’s why I say that It has been an effort of all in these three years that I have had to live a pandemic and only … It was all very crazy and nobody knew what was going to happen next, what was going to happen in the future, ”said the forward. “Then you imagined many things, many bad things in your head that maybe could happen.”
Not being able to travel to Argentina or receive family members for company, in addition to not being able to play, was what affected the scorer the most during the most difficult months of the pandemic in New York. “It was extremely depressing,” he admitted.
Castellanos thinks big, but first he goes for Atlanta United
“Taty” said that Friday is a “day that I will never erase” and that he just wanted to enjoy his mother, but as a mature player that he is, he focuses on what is next for the NYCFC: the playoffs.
This Sunday, City will host Atlanta United in the Bronx in the first round (3 pm / ABC and ESPN Sports). Leading the visiting team will be one of MLS ‘great all-time scorers, Josef Martínez.
“I do not want to stay with this, I want to go for the League, I want to go for everything, it is reality, and we are going to make every effort so that the game stays in the city,” said Castellanos, who believes that the impetus and the youth of the new people in the club is what distinguishes them from previous seasons.
“It has been a beautiful year. I have developed as a professional, I have also developed as a person, I also changed a lot in my head from what was 2020 or 2019. The experience is adding more and the work day by day ”.
The season’s scoring king enlists for Atlanta United in one of their most significant games in MLS and has a warning
“They are going to come to an extremely complicated court, much smaller than the one they play and they are going to find a difficult opponent, where many players come with great performance, with a great moment that each one is living like Maxi (Moralez), Jesús (Medina), like Sean (Johnson), like (Alexander) Callens, like Alfredo (Morales).
“There are many players who are very hungry to win and surely we will do our best to win.”
Finally, the City figure intends to continue growing in his career now that his name is beginning to be heard in the world spheres of football, including reports that FC Barcelona has him in their sights.
“With this I am not going to stay, I want to go for more, I want to go for everything, I will work every day to be the best,” he said. “You have to go step by step. On Sunday we have an important game and then for the future it will go on alone ”.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.