Deyna Castellanos and Lele Pons reveal stories behind life on global stage

3 Feb 2021

The latest edition of the FIFA PlayOn Podcast delves deep into the lives of two of Venezuela’s brightest talents, with football ace Deyna Castellanos and hit singer Lele Pons opening up about their most intimate personal stories and their challenges, triumphs and ambitions.

In selecting an eclectic six-track playlist to tell the tale of her life so far, Castellanos reveals how her goals of becoming “a better player and better person” inspired her move to Atlético Madrid Femenino in Spain after three seasons at Florida State University in the USA.

In a globe-trotting episode, Castellanos tells the podcast’s co-hosts, Universal Music Group’s global chart-topping artist Liam Payne and sports broadcaster Jaydee Dyer, how it “took just two days” after her arrival for her to appreciate the culture and passionate way of life at Atlético.

“My goals motivate me every day, and I wanted to go to a club where I could learn from experience, and Atlético has done that,” she says.

Castellanos was earmarked as a future superstar years before she turned professional at the start of 2020. The forward was a finalist for the FIFA Puskás Award and named in the top-three shortlist for The Best FIFA Women’s Player at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2017, with her accomplishments ensuring her name has become one of the most popular for newborn girls in Venezuela.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

December 22, 2020, Alcala De Henares, MADRID, SPAIN: Deyna Castellanos of Atletico de Madrid celebrates a goal during the women spanish league, Liga Iberdrola, football match played between Atletico de Madrid and Real Sociedad at Ciudad Deportiva Wanda on december 22, 2020, in Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain Alcala De Henares SPAIN - ZUMA

Castellanos’s musical choices capture vivid life memories, including an “unforgettable” FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014, where she won the adidas Golden Boot as the joint-top goalscorer, and her move to Spain, which fulfilled a lifelong dream.

“As footballers, music represents a lot,” she explains. “When we’re getting ready for a game or a competition, we’re always listening to music.”

Like Castellanos, Pons has experienced an international life journey that has shaped her meteoric rise, with Italy’s triumph at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ etched on her memory.

Pons speaks candidly about how, at the age of five, she was kidnapped alongside her mother – an incident that led to a move to Miami where, a few years later, she would burst onto the global scene.

Castellanos and Pons are relaxed as they discuss topics such as mental health, language barriers and growing up in the public eye, and reveal entertaining stories about how music and football have influenced their lives and helped to keep up their spirits during the pandemic.

To listen to the latest FIFA PlayOn Podcast, CLICK HERE.

Deyna Castellanos of Venezuela with her mum Yrene Naujenis during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Jordan 2016 Quarter Final match between Mexico and Venezuela at Amman International Stadium on October 12, 2016 in Amman, Jordan.  (Photo by Christopher Lee - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)