Manchester City’s Dina Castellanos: I want to change the world a little bit | Manchester City for Women


BBack home in Venezuela, Deyna Castellanos is known as ‘Queen Deyna’, but minutes into our conversation all nagging fears that Manchester City’s new No. 10 might be precious or high maintenance had evaporated.

in Spanish Rina It means queen, and as it chimes with Dina, she felt naturally suited to a woman who had become the leader of her country La Vienuento At the age of only 21.

Gareth Taylor’s summer signing from Atletico Madrid is now 23, but Castellanos understands that without winning a college scholarship to study journalism and soccer in Florida, he might not have been her national armband. “Going to the United States was a life-changing,” says the real-life striker, who grew up in Maracay, near the Caribbean coast. “It was a wonderful and very important moment in my career.”

It explains why Castellanos set up a foundation that, among other things, helps provide soccer scholarships for young South American girls and why she spoke so passionately about gender equality, education and “changing mindsets” in her inauguration as a City player. “I want to change the world a little bit and fight for equality,” she says.

Castellanos is an attacking midfielder or versatile striker who is key in the rebuilding plans after a summer of radical change at City. with Lucy Bronze And the Keira Walsh goes to BarcelonaAnd the Georgia Stanway joins Bayern MunichCaroline Weir leaves for Real Madrid and Ellen White retirementThe first eleven of the season has changed a lot.

“The rest of the players were very big and important,” says Castellanos, who has scored 23 goals in 59 games for Atletico. “But now everyone here is very happy and excited to be in City… even though it has rained a little bit in Manchester.”

Dina Castellanos (left) competes for possession with Magdalena Ericsson during the Manchester City Premier League match at Chelsea.
Dina Castellanos (left) competes for possession with Magdalena Ericsson during the Manchester City Premier League match at Chelsea. Photo: Harriet Lander/Chelsea FC/Getty Images

With England players Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly still on the line, continuity is not all that strange as City strive to secure their first World League One win of the season at home to Leicester on Sunday.

It has been said that the City manager hasn’t always contended with a bronze but Castellanos is a fan of the former Wales striker. “He’s a really nice person,” she says. “He is always trying to teach you and make you better. It’s not something that every coach takes time to do. I think I can grow as a player here.

“English football is faster, more physical and more in the air than Spain but it’s also technical, a great mix of styles. Manchester City have always been a passing team and that’s important. It’s very important to control the games by controlling the ball.”

The seven-star infrastructure on the city’s Federation campus should seem light years away from everyday life in Venezuela. Castellanos’ mission statement is to ensure that every girl is a “queen in her own way,” but the legacy of her country’s economic collapse after the failure of her socialist revolution dictates absolute survival is the extent of the ambitions of many citizens.

In 2018, her compatriot Salomon Rondon, then with Newcastle and now at Everton, spoke passionately about his plight from the country’s economic collapse, painting a bleak picture of empty supermarket shelves, widespread water shortages, a scarcity of essential medicines and widespread abolition of hospitals. operations; All this against the backdrop of violence, kidnappings and accelerating inflation.

Four years after the state of emergency was eased slightly, the capital, Caracas, still has one of the highest murder rates in the world. “I think the situation is a little better than when Salomon told you that,” says Castellanos, whose family has remained in Venezuela. “There are more food supplies and better access to medicines, but the country is still in a bad situation. I hope that will change.”

Dina Castellanos (right) in a match between Venezuela and Argentina at the Copa America match in Colombia in July.
Dina Castellanos (right) in a match between Venezuela and Argentina at the Copa America match in Colombia in July. Photo: Luis Eduardo Noriega A/EPA

She tends to become a journalist after retiring from football and has enjoyed working as a television analyst, primarily at NBC and Telemundo, in Spain and at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. “I feel really comfortable in front of the camera,” she says. “I do analysis, commentary or interviews with the same passion with which I play football.”

Despite only learning her second language after moving to Florida, Castellanos has trained herself to “think in English as well as Spanish” and is impressively bilingual in front of the camera. With Venezuela failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand, it appears to be shrugged off by TV companies.

“It would be really amazing,” she says. “Every team has improved a lot, both technically and physically. It was the USA that always won but now England won the Euro Spain also has a very bright future.”

Brilliant women’s leagues can help create social change, and Castellanos applauded internally when the US team publicly called for the dismissal of all North American club managers who turned a blind eye to the culture of systematic emotional and sexual abuse in their domestic league that he exposed Sally Yates’ latest report. “They are brave to speak up about the important things,” she says. “I am proud of them.”

Although it’s in a completely different context, she holds similar sentiments about her body art collection. “I definitely have a lot of tattoos,” she says. “I’m not sure exactly how many there are, about 37. It’s a mix of words and pictures but I haven’t had one from Manchester yet…may include some rain.”


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