Guardiola: NYCFC’s Castellanos ready for Europe

Leagues

Pep Guardiola believes New York City FC striker Valentin Castellanos is ready to leave MLS and take the next step in his career in Europe.

Castellanos, 23, finished the regular season with 19 goals before adding three in the play-offs as New York City claimed the first MLS Cup triumph in their history after defeating the Portland Timbers in a penalty shootout.

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The Argentinian has been linked with a move to the Premier League and Guardiola revealed he has had conversations with the City Football Group’s scouting department about his future.

“I think he is a guy who will do the next step in Europe,” Guardiola told a news conference on Monday. “What I saw when the scouting department talked to me, I know he’s a quality player and ready to make the next step to Europe and we will see where.”

Castellanos put New York ahead with a header in the first half against the Portland Timbers only for the team to concede an equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

After a goalless extra time, Alexander Callens scored the winning spot-kick at Portland’s Providence Park as New York won their first MLS Cup seven years after their formation.

“We watched it in the restaurant and we couldn’t believe it,” said Guardiola. “I was really impressed with the way they handled the extra time. When you concede a goal with 10 seconds left before finishing the game and being champions and have extra time you can be destroyed.

“But in extra time, wow, they were much, much better. That shows how strong these players are, and the manager. It’s a huge compliment for the organisation for New York City because it is the first time and always the first time is special.”

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