Nery Castillo

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Nery Castillo
Personal information
Full name Nery Alberto Castillo Confalonieri
Date of birth (1984-06-13) 13 June 1984 (age 29)
Place of birth San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current club Rayo Vallecano
Number 11
Youth career
1999–2000 Danubio
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2007 Olympiacos 105 (30)
2007–2011 Shakhtar Donetsk 12 (1)
2008–2009 Manchester City (loan) 7 (0)
2009–2010 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (loan) 3 (0)
2010 Chicago Fire (loan) 8 (0)
2011 Aris (loan) 10 (2)
2011–2012 Aris 20 (6)
2012–2013 Pachuca 13 (1)
2013 León (loan) 7 (0)
2013– Rayo Vallecano 11 (2)
National team
2007–2009 Mexico 21 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 6 January 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 September 2009

Nery Alberto Castillo Confalonieri (born 13 June 1984) is a Mexican footballer who plays as a right winger or forward for Spanish club Rayo Vallecano. He has also been called up to the Mexico national team.

Born in San Luis Potosí, Castillo began his career at Uruguayan club Danubio, moving to Greece at the age of 16 to play for Olympiacos. He spent seven years at Olympiacos, gradually developing into a regular starter over a three-year period. Once established in the team Castillo helped Olympiacos to three consecutive league titles, prompting Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk to spend €20 million to secure his services in 2007. After only a handful of starts for Shakhtar, Castillo was dropped for refusing to allow team-mate Cristiano Lucarelli to take a penalty. In December 2007, he moved on a year's loan to Premier League club Manchester City, paying a substantial amount of the loan fee himself. He would also be loaned out to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and MLS club Chicago Fire.

He made his international debut for Mexico on 2 June 2007 vs Iran, and represented his country in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2007 Copa America.

Early years[edit]

Castillo was born in the Mexican city of San Luis Potosí, where his father, a Uruguayan professional footballer, played for San Luis.[1] The family moved to South America while Castillo was still a small child. He started playing for club Danubio in the youth team. While participating with Danubio's youth team in a Brazilian tournament, Castillo was spotted by scouts from European clubs. He went on trial with Manchester United[2] of England's Premier League, but Castillo failed to obtain a work permit and the door to join the club was closed.[3][4]

Club career[edit]


At the age of 16, Castillo's father accepted an offer from the Greek club Olympiacos. Three years after he joined Olympiacos, Castillo became a regular starter in both the domestic and European competitions. He became a fan favourite with the Gate 7 Ultras[5] and was even given the number 7 shirt in deference to them.

After that point, his career took a down slide. A rumoured transfer to the Italian club Inter Milan never happened, and changes in the management of the club combined with the arrival of former Brazil international Rivaldo relegated him from his starting role to the bench. Other off the field issues with the coach and teammates had also contributed to increasing perceptions that Castillo was a problematic player.

In early 2006 his father (also his agent) began negotiations with the Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara, but talks were interrupted because Olympiacos weren't interested in negotiating for the player at the time.

Before this, in what Castillo thought was his last game for Olympiacos, he scored a free kick after "stealing" it from a team mate who was preparing to take it. He celebrated by running the length of the field and throwing his shirt to his fans at Gate 7. He was left looking somewhat sheepish without a shirt for the restart.

During the 2006–07 season Castillo was a solid starter. Many reports considered that the player had changed his attitude and solved off the field issues. The prospect of a more mature Castillo encouraged the officers of Olympiacos to renew his contract, extending its length four more years, and improving its economic conditions.

Castillo was the leading scorer for Olympiacos during the preparatory phase for the 2006–07 season, accumulating seven goals in friendly games. From then on his form only improved, scoring several goals in the UEFA Champions League and the domestic tournament, including a hat-trick against Panionios. Castillo ended the season second to Rivaldo in goals and assists for the club, which included three goals in five Champions League matches.

Shakhtar Donetsk[edit]

On 31 July 2007, Castillo joined Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk on a five-year contract for a fee of €20 million.[6] This became the most expensive transfer for a Ukrainian club to date.[7]

Castillo scored his first goal for Shakhtar while playing against SV Salzburg in the Champions League. His stint was to be brief, though. Castillo had only played in a few games for Shakhtar when in a league match versus FC Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka, Shakhtar won a penalty kick. Castillo refused to give the ball to official penalty kick-taker Cristiano Lucarelli and took the penalty himself, which was saved.[8] Castillo was immediately substituted from the game. Coach Mircea Lucescu commented "What Castillo did, from a professional point of view, I've never seen anything like it before in my whole life. There will be some measures taken against Castillo".[9]

On 15 December 2007, Castillo's agent told the Daily Mail: "There has been an agreement with Manchester City so that Nery can be with the club for one year on loan so he can prove himself and play active football." adding that City would have an option to buy Castillo once his loan period expires.[10] Shakhtar president and Ukraine's richest man Rinat Akhmetov then said that City's offer of £1 million was too low, instead offering "a one-year loan – five million euros and there will be no options, meaning a right to buy (Castillo)... If Castillo finds his game ... then in a year we'll decide whether to take him back to Shakhtar or sell. And the price could be 20, or 30, or 40, or 50 million euros."[11]

After failing to secure a place at Manchester City, Castillo returned to Shakhtar Donetsk at the end of his loan in January 2009.

On 1 July 2011, Castillo terminated his contract with Shakhtar to sign a permanent deal with Greek club Aris.

Manchester City (loan)[edit]

It was announced on 18 December 2007 that Castillo had signed a one-year loan agreement with Manchester City,[12] commencing on 1 January 2008. Reportedly Castillo was keen to make the move happen and in a highly unusual move paid half of the loan fee himself. Sven-Göran Eriksson commented "He was desperate to come to us, desperate to come to England, desperate to come to the Premier League" and said he had never seen a player pay for half of a deal before.[2]

He played his first match for Manchester City on 5 January 2008 in the third round of the FA Cup, away to West Ham United. However, in the replay on 16 January 2008, his first home appearance for the club, he was stretchered off after 32 minutes with a broken shoulder.[13]

He ended the season with nine appearances, seven of them coming in the Premier League.

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (loan)[edit]

After Shakhtar Donetsk had failed to even include Castillo on the bench for the first two matches of the 2009/2010 season he was loaned to Ukrainian league rivals Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk for a year on 30 July 2009.[14]

Chicago Fire (loan)[edit]

On 17 July 2010, the Chicago Fire announced the signing of Castillo as their newest designated player. He arrived on loan with Chicago holding the option to make the transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk permanent. In being signed as a designated player, he became the second youngest designated player in Major League Soccer history.[15]


Castillo joined Aris on a six-month loan on 19 January 2011.[16] He played his first match for Aris on 30 January 2011, against arch rivals PAOK.

After a successful loan period in which he made ten league appearances and scored two goals, Castillo terminated his contract with Shakhtar Donetsk and signed a two-year contract with Aris on 1 July 2011.[17]

He scored his first league goal of the 2011/12 season on 8 January 2012 in a 1–0 win over PAS Giannina. He scored his first brace in a 3–1 victory over Doxa Drama on 22 January. He scored his second consecutive brace seven days later in a 2–1 win over Levadiakos. Castillo scored again on 5 February in a 2–0 win over Xanthi, bringing his goal tally to six.


On 14 June 2012 Castillo's move to Liga MX club Pachuca was made official, signing a three-year contract. It was the first time Castillo played in the Mexican league after eight years of playing abroad.

León (loan)[edit]

On 10 December 2012, Castillo went on loan to Club León for six months, for whom he only made seven appearances.

Rayo Vallecano[edit]

On 9 July 2013, he moved to Rayo Vallecano on a free transfer from Pachuca.[18]

International career[edit]

Choosing nationality[edit]

Castillo was eligible for citizenship in four countries; Uruguay because his father is from there; Italy due to his maternal grandparents; Greece because he resided there for more than six years and Mexico where he was born.[19]

His first experience of international football came when he was called up to a Uruguay U-17 training camp. However he was released after playing a few friendly games.[19] Next the Greek coach Otto Rehhagel tried to secure his services for the Greece national football team.[20] Greece were reportedly willing to pay Castillo $800,000, including fast-tracked citizenship as part of the offer.[19]

Ultimately, Castillo decided to play for the country of his birth and joined the Mexico national football team.

Mexico national team[edit]

Castillo made his debut for Mexico on 2 June 2007 against Iran. The game was held in his hometown San Luis Potosí and Mexico won the game 4–0.[citation needed]

He went on to play in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup where he scored his first international goal against Cuba.

He was then included in the squad for the 2007 Copa America. A pre-tournament injury to Jared Borgetti gave Castillo a starting berth,[21] and he proved influential in Mexico's first match of the tournament, scoring in a 2–0 win against Brazil.[22] He scored again against Ecuador as Mexico secured a place in the knockout stages,[22] and scored a brace in the quarter-final against Paraguay, the first goal a penalty.[23] Overall he was the third highest goal scorer of the tournament with four goals, behind Juan Román Riquelme and Robinho.

International goals[edit]

International goals
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 8 June 2007 Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, United States  Cuba 2–1 2–1 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup
2 27 June 2007 Polideportivo Cachamay, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela  Brazil 1–0 2–0 2007 Copa América
3 1 July 2007 Estadio Monumental de Maturín, Maturín, Venezuela  Ecuador 1–0 2–1 2007 Copa América
4 8 July 2007 Estadio Monumental de Maturín, Maturín, Venezuela  Paraguay 1–0 6–0 2007 Copa América
5 8 July 2007 Estadio Monumental de Maturín, Maturín, Venezuela  Paraguay 3–0 6–0 2007 Copa América
6 1 April 2009 Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras  Honduras 1–3 1–3 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification

Career statistics[edit]


As of 5 February 2012.
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Olympiacos 2000–01 1 0 3 1 0 0 4 1
2001–02 1 0 7 1 0 0 8 1
2002–03 9 3 7 1 0 0 16 4
2003–04 26 7 8 2 5 2 39 11
2004–05 26 6 4 1 5 0 35 7
2005–06 17 2 5 2 0 0 22 4
2006–07 25 12 5 0 5 3 35 15
Shakhtar 2007–08 8 0 1 0 5 1 14 1
Manchester City 2007–08 7 0 2 0 0 0 9 0
Shakhtar 2008–09 4 1 0 0 0 0 4 1
Dnipro 2008–09 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Chicago Fire 2010 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
Aris 2010–11 10 2 0 0 1 0 11 2
2011–12 20 6 1 1 0 0 21 7
Total 155 36 42 8 21 6 218 49



Shakhtar Donetsk




  1. ^ "Castillo: We’ll be a force in 2010". FIFA. 21 December 2007. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 17 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "Nery Castillo: Devil in the detail as Castillo pays for his City break". The Independent on Sunday (London: Independent News and Media). 5 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Castillo vows United revenge". Daily Mirror (Trinity Mirror). 21 December 2007. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  4. ^ "Mexican Castillo joins Man City". CNN. 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "Gate 7 Ultras Olmpiakos". Gate 7 Ultras Olmpiakos (in Greek). Archived from the original on 13 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008. 
  6. ^ "Shakhtar have signed Nery Alberto Castillo". (FC Shakhtar Donetsk). 31 July 2007. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2007. 
  7. ^ "Soccer-Big spending Shakhtar eager to make splash in Europe". Reuters. 14 September 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  8. ^ "Shakhtar – Naftovyk. Nery Castillo stolen penalty". YouTube. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "Castillo boost for Celtic". Sky Sports. 26 November 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  10. ^ Ladyman, Ian (15 December 2007). "Eriksson loves a red-hot Mexican". Daily Mail (London: Mail Online). Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  11. ^ "You can have Castillo for a year but you need to pay up, Shakhtar tell Sven's City". Daily Mail (London: Mail Online). 17 December 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  12. ^ "Nery Castillo joins on year-long loan". (Manchester City FC). 18 December 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2007. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Eriksson feels for unlucky Castillo". Manchester City official web site. 19 January 2008. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  14. ^ "Dnipro leiht Nery Castillo" (in German). Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. 
  15. ^ "Bienvenido, Nery Castillo". MLS Official Web Site. 17 July 2010. Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "Nery Castillo". Aris official website.
  17. ^ "Nery Catillo renovo contrato con el Aris de Grecia hasta el 2013" (in Spanish). Medio Tiempo. Retrieved 1 July 2011 earning 550.000 euros per year.
  18. ^ "Castillo: It is a dream to play in Spain". Soccer News. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c Mark Zeigler (6 February 2007). "Castillo pledges allegiance". Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  20. ^ "Greece to call up hot-shot Castillo". Soccerway. 9 November 2006. Archived from the original on 8 April 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  21. ^ Goodman, Joshua (28 June 2007). "Copa America: Mexico, Argentina reach semis on goal-scoring roll". USA Today. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  22. ^ a b "Mexico first to reach Copa quarterfinals". Fox Sports. 2 July 2007. Archived from the original on 10 February 2005. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  23. ^ "Mexico hammers 10-man Paraguay". ESPN. 8 July 2007. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 

External links[edit]