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Megan Rapinoe Hits out at FIFA over Deyna Castellanos Nomination

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2017

COMMERCE CITY, CO - SEPTEMBER 15:  Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States plays against New Zealand at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on September 15, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

USWNT star Megan Rapinoe has said FIFA has shown it "doesn't really care" about women's football after 18-year-old Deyna Castellanos was included in the final three nominations for the Best Female player in the world, despite not playing in a professional league.

Per BBC Sport's Mani Djazmi, the 32-year-old World Cup-winner said:

"The award just doesn't hold a lot of weight when you've got someone on the list I've never heard of.

"It signals to us and it signals to the rest of the world that FIFA doesn't really care.

"If some random male player, who was not even a full professional, was nominated, I'm sure they would step in for that, so it's disappointing that the same hasn't been done for us."

Rapinoe added Castellanos' inclusion demonstrates football's governing body is "old, male and stale."

Castellanos is up against USA midfielder Carli Lloyd and Netherlands forward Lieke Martens for the award.

#FIFAWWC 🇫🇷 @FIFAWWC

Your three candidates for #TheBest FIFA Women’s Player 2017: #DeynaCastellanos #CarliLloyd #LiekeMartens Who will be crowned #TheBest? https://t.co/weJH9DCfB5

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The former, who joined Manchester City in February, has won it two years running, albeit in 2015 it was still known as the FIFA World Player of the Year award. The latter was named the Player of the Tournament as she fired the Netherlands to victory at the UEFA Women's Euro 2017.

By contrast, Castellanos plays for university side Florida State and pro-am team Santa Clarita Blue Heat. She has undoubtedly had an excellent year for the two teams, scoring 14 goals in 15 games for the former and six in nine for the latter, but neither are a professional outfit.

On the international stage the striker represents Venezuela, and she is also nominated for the Puskas award for her goal against Cameroon in the FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup, one of a number of scintillating strikes she has produced in her fledgling career:

However, she is yet to feature for the under-20 side, let alone Venezuela's first team.

Rapinoe is not the only player to take issue with Castellanos' selection. Kelley O'Hara of Sky Blues FC believes club team-mate Sam Kerr deserved a place, while Kerr's Australia team-mate Lisa De Vanna was similarly incredulous:

Kelley O'Hara @kelleymohara

Going to need someone to walk me through how @samkerr1 is NOT on short list for FIFA player of the year... Dumbfounded right now 🤔

Lisa De Vanna @lisadevanna11

congratulations to Barbara Streisand ,Julia Roberts and Donald Trump on their FIFA top 3 nomination for player of the year! 😂😂

Kerr does seem conspicuous by her absence, given she netted seven times for the Matildas this year and has shown fine form in the National Women's Super League:

NWSL @NWSL

1⃣7⃣ goals, 4⃣ assists, 5⃣ game-winning goals. @samkerr1 of @SkyBlueFC is the 2017 #NWSL MVP. https://t.co/Z8f4FPjwNg

Castellanos is evidently a talented player with a penchant for the spectacular, and she may well be the star of the women's game in the future.

Her nomination does feel somewhat premature, however, particularly given the calibre of those to miss out.

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