Mexico Needs Nery -- and Vice Versa

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE1sm8L1Hm0"]Nery vs. Brasil[/ame]

It was the best goal a Mexican had scored in an international tournament since Cuauhtémoc mid-air volley in Bordeaux. It helped dull the pain of losing the Gold Cup final to the US. It announced the arrival of an extremely talented player. A difference maker, a field tipper, a downhiller.

Nery Castillo finished Copa America with 4 goals, and was on the short list of a large number of European clubs that were looking to lure him away from Olimpiakos. Nery did not go to one of the big leagues, though. He ended up at Shakhtar in the Ukraine. Friction with the coaches, players, and general immaturity saw Nery leave the Ukraine for SGE's Manchester City on loan.

Castillo was so desperate to leave he even put up some of his own cash to facilitate the loan. He played some, but didn't score. A broken collar bone ended his season, and SGE's departure froze him out at city. Shakhtar would not loan him out to anyone else. They would rather he stagnated in Manchester. He was the victim of his own bad decisions. He became a troublemaker, not a difference maker. It was a tough year for Nery. And it ended in the worst possible way with the passing of his mother, with whom he was extremely close. All the while, SGE was looking for someone, anyone, to give Mexico's anemic attack a spark.

Things got so desperate for SGE that he called up Nery, who hadn't seen the pitch in over 9 months, to see what he could do. He did ok in a friendly, and got some time in San Pedro Sula vs. Honduras. Even in those two games, he showed just enough to prove that he could still make a difference. It showed that Mexico needed Nery. And Nery needed Mexico.

With the coming of the new year, Nery has reported back to Shakhtar. From all reports, Nery is highly motivated. His coach expects a lot of him. Shakhtar is off the Canary Islands to play Borussia Mönchengladbach and the local Deportiva las Palmas in the Maspalomas Cup. They will then continue their training in Spain. They have a playoff with Tottenham in the UEFA cup as well, but their season does not renew until late February. With the departure of Brandao to Marseille, Nery has a golden opportunity to earn some playing time. He has a chance to show his new-found humilty and maturity, not to mention why Shakhtar paid so much to get him. He needs this. Mexico needs this.

Positive results in the Ukraine will surely be rewarded with a call-up for Mexico. Mexico desperately needs Nery to rediscover his scoring touch, and Nery needs the qualifiers to prove to himself, to his club, and everyone else that he can make a difference. Will he make a difference? We'll see. One thing to be sure, though, the cold in Columbus won't affect him.