New York City FC legend Valentín Castellanos continues to follow his dream of playing in Europe. He joined Serie A side S.S Lazio in the summer following his loan stint from Girona FC. His impressive campaign in La Liga last year sparked interest from several European clubs. It took some time, but NYCFC finally found a home for their former club legend.
While Castellanos has moved on from the MLS, there may be a chance that he will return to the United States at the international level. There are multiple logistical issues, but it might be possible down the road.
A look at Castellanos' time in Italy thus far
Nonetheless, Castellanos started the Serie A season as a bench warmer, having come on as a substitute during his first five matches. When Ciro Immobile went down with a thigh injury in late September, it was Castellanos' time to shine as he started five of his last seven matches since September 30, scoring a goal with two assists.
This proves his in-depth ability while adjusting to his new role for his club. Though not consistently starting every game as he did in both Girona and NYCFC, Castellanos is still producing while keeping his shots attempted at over 85 percent thus far.
One of the biggest reasons why Girona could not hold on to Castellanos was because they did not qualify to play in a European competition. With Lazio finishing second last season, they qualified for Champions League football for the first time since the 2020/21 season. He is still waiting for his special moment in the UCL, having made just three appearances off the bench.
Plus, Lazio sits in second place in Group E, holding a point lead over Feyenoord Rotterdam for the final spot in the Round of 16 now with just a few more games left in the group. If Lazio manages to make the knockout round, then it would be huge for the team and Castellanos.
Meanwhile, Castellanos continues to show his love for his former NYCFC teammates and vice versa, especially after he scored four goals against Real Madrid back in April. With his connection to playing in the United States and his desire to play international football, it could someday become a reality for the Argentine.
Several reports have indicated that Castellanos is in the middle of filling out paperwork to be eligible to play for the USMNT, and he is expected to finish the process in March by coming back to the United States. This is huge for both him and NYCFC fans, who may have a chance to see him again play on American soil. Alas, the logistics are problematic, and how this can be accomplished is questionable.
At the same time, there were rumors he would be called up to represent Argentina in this window. That was not meant to be, and the Argentine was not called up.
Regardless of his international future, Castellanos knows he has a future with Lazio. Only time will tell whether the former New York City FC player takes over the starting striker role.