One time €20 million valued Manchester City flop could return to Europe this summer

Nery Castillo failed to impress during his one-year loan with City; but could now be about to embark on a dream move to La Liga.

When a young left-winger by the name of Nery Castillo first arrived on European shores he wasted little time getting used to its new demands.

He signed for Greek outfit Olympiakos from Uruguayan side Danubio in the year 2000; aged just 16; and the lightning fast winger in quickly established himself as a first-team regular at the Piraeus side.

After a seven year stint in Greece, which included many ups and downs, Castillo found himself wanted all over Europe after an excellent 2006-07 season in which he finished second only to Brazilian great Rivaldo in goals and assists.

It was this form that convinced Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk to splurge a whopping €20 million on his services in the summer of 2007; at the time a Ukrainian transfer record.

But his time in Ukraine was miserable and it all came to a head with a massive penalty controversy in a league match with FC Naftovyk-Ukrnafta Okhtyrka. Shakhtar received a penalty but the petulant Mexican refused to hand the ball to usual spot-kick taker Cristiano Lucarelli; his penalty was subsequently saved.

Mircea Lucescu, the Shakhtar manager, was furious and from then on his career with the club was doomed to fail.

That is when he became a familiar face to Manchester City fans.

Castillo was desperate to leave Ukraine and try his hand in the Premier League; so much so that he even paid half of the loan fee himself to facilitate its completion.

And under Sven-Goran Eriksson he was expected to excel; however most Manchester City fans would agree that he did not. He suffered a broken shoulder on his home debut and only ever made nine appearances for the club; scoring no goals in Manchester.

So what happened next?

He went back to Ukraine after his unhappy year-long spell at City and played for Dnipro for a season which proved an equally disappointing campaign before becoming a designated player at MLS outfit Chicago Fire; again with minimal success.

His best stint came with a return to Greece.

A loan spell and subsequent free transfer to Aris Thessaloniki paid dividends before he returned home to Pachuca in 2012. Again it has not been plain sailing for the lad and the recently turned 29-year-old has spent 2013 on loan with Club Leon.

But before turning 30 it seems this Manchester City flop is being offered one more crack at European football.

Reports in Spain suggest both Malaga and Rayo Vallecano have been in touch with the Mexican regarding a potential move to Spain this summer; somewhere he has previously admitted a desire to play.

So keep your eyes and ears open City fans because Castillo might just crack Western Europe yet.

image: © esparta

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