What Happened To That Boi; The Magician Named Nery Castillo

Nery Castillo
Nery Castillo

Being the very vocal advocates for youth development that we are, we need to accept all the possible downsides to more and more people embracing the notion of investing in younger players and their development with the belief that this ideology will always afford the beautiful game a solid foundation for growth. With all those positives brought into consideration, it’s not a rarity for one to see many young players succumbing to the heavy expectations paced on them and the media circus that comes with being so gifted in this age of technology and the increased pressure to perform at a level that justifies the increased levels of remuneration, for so many diverse and often bizarre reasons an alarming number of these players ultimately fail to become the super talents that people predicted they would be and thus the common question in the barroom over a pint as the football plays, “what happened to that boi?”


Introduced himself as

A technically adept left footed dribbling wizard with an eye for goal and a penchant for the spectacular, extremely capable of outrageous brilliance when the mood takes him while also possessing that darker side that so many gifted folk are forced to encounter and endeavour to overcome in order to attain greatness. A star on the rise developed at Danubio Fútbol Club, who are the 3 times champions of the Primera División Uruguaya and are also the club responsible for talents like Álvaro Recoba, Marcelo Zalayeta, Javier Chevantón, Fabián Carini, Walter Gargano and Edison Cavani; a who’s who list of Uruguayan internationals what proves the clubs pedigree when it comes to player development. Having attracted the attention of top European club scouts in a youth tournament hosted in Brazil, the speed merchant was invited to trial at English Premier League giants Manchester United and even impressed the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson yet failed to obtain a work permit to finalise his move to England, with even Fergie unable to get the papers pushed through. The sadness of that failed move was short lived as his father accepted an offer from Greek powerhouse Olympiakos for the transfer of his 16 year old son. The prodigy was well on his way and it seemed like the talented playmaker would soon be the talk of Europe in just a matter of years.

Where did it go wrong?

Having taken 3 years to fully acclimatise to life in Greece and the standard of football in the Superleague Greece, the South American bred dribbling machine established himself as a regular in the Olympiakos side and became a fan favourite with the club giving him the number 7 jersey as a tribute to the Gate 7 Ultras who had appointed the young gun as their poster boy. Issues begun to arise after the club changed gaffers and the cracks begun to show when the playmaker begun to see more of the bench due to the arrival of Brazil legend and attacking genius Rivaldo; the reports of fights with fellow teammates and his gaffer lead to the young Nery being branded a bad-boy who possessed an immense talent level that was only surpassed by his arrogance. 2006 seems to be where it all begun to fall apart for the skilled left wing forward whose game was underpinned by his outrageous confidence, that belief that allowed himself to take his God gifted skills and bless us football purists with that spark of brilliance that we fiend for, a player that had the audacity to run up and steal a freekick from his teammate as he prepared to take the set play; the diminutive technician scored and ran the length of the pitch to take off his jersey and throw it to the fans located at Gate 7. Although Nery finished off the 2006/07 season strongly, finishing second to Rivaldo in both goals scored and goals created, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the young star and when his move to Shakhtar Donetsk for a Ukrainian club record 20 million Euros was announced the decline of a shining star had effectively begun; making more international appearances for his chosen national team, Mexico, after leaving Greece than he ever managed in a single season for any of the clubs he represented since Olympiakos (21); his return to Greece with Aris, first on loan then signed permanently, was his most successful spell as a mature footballer.

The legend

When I tell my seeds about a talented young player named Nery Alberto Castillo Confalonieri that had top club sides across Europe gunning for his signature as a youth team player in Uruguay, was eligible for citizenship in four countries (Uruguay due to his father, Italy through his maternal grandparents, Greece where he resided for longer than 6 years and Mexico where he was born); amazed football viewers while he established himself as a player to take note of as he helped lead Olymiakos to 6 titles in 5 years as a youngster, who would go onto become a mere afterthought in the minds of even the most learned of football enthusiasts by the time he should have been entering his peak years as a playmaking genius with a left peg to rival the best of them ,Bobs your grandmother’s third born son they will not believe old Uncle Bob.

Nery Castillo


Full Name: Nery Alberto Castillo Confalonieri

DoB: June 13th, 1984 (30)

PoB: San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Height: 1, 70m

Position/s: Attacking Midfielder, Winger, Advanced Playmaker, Advanced Forward

Preferred Foot: Left

Club Career Record: 227 Games, 49 Goals, 11 Assists

Caps & Goals: 21 Caps, 6 Goals (Debut: June 2nd, 2007)

Market Value: € 1m


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