Valentin Castellanos was all smiles when giving his first interview at Lazio, reflecting on the move and his first few weeks in the Italian capital.
The 24-year-old Argentinian striker moved to Rome from New York City FC in a deal worth around €20 million, being the club’s first signing of the summer transfer window.
Castellanos’ arrival has been much anticipated in the Italian capital, with Lazio needing a new striker for a little while now following the departures of Vedat Muriqi and Felipe Caicedo.
Speaking to Lazio’s media department (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Castellanos first reflected on his move to the club.
When my agent informed me of Lazio’s interest, I didn’t hesitate to accept because of the club’s history and what they represent in the world.
I’m very happy that, thanks to all the parties involved, an agreement was found quickly. I’m very happy!
He gave his thoughts on coach Maurizio Sarri.
My first impressions since I’ve been here are of the coach, since I’m working with him.
He’s a coach with a lot of experience and an important name that can help me improve in my style of play. The feeling is that thanks to him we can all learn a lot and grow professionally.
Lazio are a great club with an incredible sports centre and their fans are very passionate, they always support you in good and bad times. This is fundamental.
The 24-year-old commented on some Argentine inspirations.
Higuain was a very strong player, the coach coached him and taught him a lot. There are also many Argentinian players who have come through here, like Hernan Crespo.
I’ve always seen him on TV and today being at a big club like Lazio is exciting.
Castellanos discussed his striking partner Ciro Immobile.
Ciro is a great player, he’s our captain. You learn a lot from him by having fun every day, he helps me and the youngsters a lot. Ciro is an institution here, we are lucky to be able to work with him every day.
You learn a lot from a goalscorer and from the reputation he has here at Lazio. You have to take advantage of that and enjoy it, he will help us a lot during the season, he still has a lot to give in the rest of his career.
He explained his nickname ‘Taty’.
The nickname Taty was born when I was little, when I was saying my first words. I still couldn’t speak, I was two or three years old.
I remember we had a little car with a broken horn that would honk and say ‘Taty, Taty, Taty’ or at least that’s what it sounded like to me.
My mother would say to me, ‘Valentin, repeat the word like dog. And I was like, ‘Taty.’ And she: ‘Mama.’ And me: ‘Taty’. That’s how my nickname came about.
The 24-year-old spoke about why he chose the shirt number 19.
The choice of the number 19 was born from a good incident. I was with my agents in Rome and with Leandro, my image consultant.
We had just called a taxi from the hotel to go to dinner and they gave us a ticket with L’Aquila19 written on it.
So, I thought: ‘I have the eagle tattooed, it’s the symbol of Lazio and the number 19 is available’. That’s how I chose my shirt number.
Finally, Castellanos discussed the Argentine history at Lazio.
Lazio have had many Argentine players. There are many that I remember. Crespo first for his role on the pitch, for his name and for the career he’s had is one of the most important players who have worn this shirt.
Like Lionel Scaloni who is now the coach of Argentina. Lucas Biglia and many others who have played here, such as Tucu Correa. Lazio have always attracted important Argentine players.