Nery Playing with Fire

Nery Castillo is on his way to Chicago and MLS

How nice of Shahktar Donetsk. They finally took the shackles off one of their high profile, yet troubled transfers. If only they had done it six months ago….

Chicagoland beware: Nery Castillo, the supremely gifted, mercurial, ball hogging, lightning fast, yet inert forward is on his way to Toyota Park.

The man, who was known in Greece as Nintendo, replaces Cuauhtémoc Blanco as Chicago’s DP. A risky move, to be sure. Nery hasn’t really played all that much since he made it rain for Mexico in the 2007 Copa America. His talent is undeniable, but his intangibles have dominated his story over the past few years. Most of which have been chronicled here at SP…O

His brilliant performance in the tournament led him to be transferred to the Ukrainian side. He quickly fell out of favor with the team, and spent the next three years desperately trying to get out. Stops at Man City (where he broke his collar bone) and Dnipro didn’t pan out. And when he did play for Mexico, his over-eagerness to play well hindered the team more than it helped.

And that was when he didn’t leave the game injured.

Unfortunately for Nery, his inactivity outweighed his potential, and Vasco Aguirre did not select him for the World Cup. There is no doubt that if Nery was in form he would have played for Mexico in South Africa. A lot folks blame Shakhtar for that, but Nery was equally complicit in sabotaging his own career. To make things worse for Nery, he lost both his parents to cancer less than a year apart and had other personal relationship issues after becoming a father. Nery required much more than to just get his head right with ball.

Nery is the portrait of a player who is in desperate need of a fresh start. "I'm very happy to be joining the Fire, which is a club that I feel embodies the same values that I have as a player." Indeed. Fiery is a more than adequate qualifier for Nery.

"When I put on a Fire jersey for the first time, my commitment to the fans and to my club will be to score goals, contribute on the pitch and win." And he’ll get to do just that on August 1 vs. the Galaxy.

Go get’em, Nery.