Villalobos: Deyna is The Best on and off the pitch

  • Castellanos is a finalist for both The Best FIFA Women’s Player and the FIFA Puskás Award

  • The Venezuela striker plays for Florida State Seminoles

  • Her team-mate and friend Gloriana Villalobos talks to us about her

“We’ve got on really well ever since she arrived in January,” said Gloriana Villalobos of her club-mate Deyna Castellanos. The fact is, though, that they first came face to face in 2014, when, at the age of only 14, they became two of the sensations of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup held that year in Costa Rica.

For the last few months, the Venezuelan and the Costa Rican have been playing for the same team, sharing the same flat, studying at the same Florida university and sharing the same jokes on social media. In the process they have become inseparable.

Who better, then, than Villalobos to tell us what the young two-time The Best finalist is really like and how she is coping with the huge expectation surrounding her since the nominations were revealed?

“Sometimes I do wind her up when she’s got her face glued to the phone and she’s looking at the messages people put up on Facebook and all the tweets,” said the Costa Rican. “I’ll say to her, ‘You’ve really changed, Deyna’. And she gets all angry (laughs).”

Deyna The Best “She’s 18 and she’s got an amazing future ahead of her. More than anything, she’s got this larger-than-life personality. She knows how to be the best on the pitch and she tries to be the best off it too. I really admire the way she is. She’d have every right to go around thinking she was great, but she’s very modest. She’s always willing to help people and she wants everyone to feel good. On the pitch I admire how calm she is when she plays and her creativity. That’s why I think she deserves the award.”

The ideal flatmate “If I lived on my own, I’d need to have a lot of willpower to clean the flat, but Deyna is organised and she takes control. She’s the one who says, ‘Come on, let’s clean and tidy all this up.’ She’s always ready in a flash too. In the mornings, when the alarm goes off and we have to get up for class, she’s ready in next to no time. It takes me a little while to get up and get myself ready.

“Who’s the best cook? She’s the chef. She makes Venezuelan corn tortillas and they come out perfectly. I’m the one who does the dishes after she’s finished cooking (laughs).”

Dedicated footballers and students “The plan is to finish the degree, go to Europe and play professionally. That goes for both me and her. I’m studying sports management and Deyna’s doing journalism. We help each other. If I’ve got an assignment to do and the deadline’s coming up fast, she’ll help me with it, and vice versa. The good thing is that she’s studying what I did last term, so I give her all my notes.”

Instagram wars “It’s our way of having fun! The problem is that people only see what she posts. It’s funny, because she looks like she’s the one bothering me, but I get my own back plenty of times. It’s non-stop war (laughs). In fact, I reckon I’m funnier and more of a joker. The good thing is that Deyna’s very patient. Anyone else would have given me a slap by now!”

Destination London “I’d love to go with her to London, but I’ve got university and a match with the team too. She’s going with her family. They’re the ones who are always there for you and they deserve to be there and to be a part of it. But I’m going to be following the ceremony for sure, and I’ll have my face glued to a website watching it. Maybe we can organise something and the whole team can watch it together.”