Nery Castillo came to the Chicago Fire with the promise of heralding a new era for MLS, one in which relatively well-known, young foreign players can find a comfortable home. Just six months later, it's looking like just another highly paid flame out, as reports around the web are saying Castillo is going out on loan to Greek side Aris FC and is unlikely to return to the Fire.
That would end a relationship that never really worked out for either party in MLS. Castillo came to the Fire on loan from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in July 2010, hoping to mimic the success of his Mexican countryman Cuauhtémoc Blanco, who revived his career during parts of three seasons in Chicago from 2007-09. Instead, Castillo spent more time in the trainer's room than on the field and rarely got off the bench when healthy. He played in just eight games, starting just six, didn't register a point and was unable to help the Fire turn around their season.
"It's a guy who was very excited to be able to succeed in MLS and he was surprised by the level of physicality that we have in the league," Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos told La Cronica de Hoy via translator. "But it's a guy who has great talent, is a good player, but he knows he did not have a good season. "
The Fire coach noted that Castillo had not been training with the Fire in the offseason and had probably missed his chance to gain the strength he'd need to succeed in MLS. Castillo now joins the likes of Luis Angel Landin (Houston Dynamo 2009-10), Mista (Toronto FC 2010) and Denilson (FC Dallas 2007) as high-profile flops.