As of 12:00 AM CST, Saturday, May 21st, 2011 the Nery Castillo Chicago Fire era officially came to an end. The reports that the Fire would not be exercising the option to complete a permanent transfer came out earlier this week but it was already a forgone conclusion. Castillo never fit into the organization. The fans did not like him. The team has already used all 8 international roster slots and forward is the one position the team is very deep at right now.
Nery Castillo's signing at the time made sense. The Fire were stuck in neutral on Saturday, July 17, 2010 and needed something to push the team over the top. Major League Soccer has not had too many players that can boast Castillo's accomplishments and donned a MLS jersey at the age of 27 years old. For all the criticism of Castillo, he is a player that took the 2007 Copa America by storm and scored a goal for Mexico in 2010 World Cup Qualification. In his 11 games for Aris FC, he has scored 2 goals so far. He may not be worth the estimated $2 million dollars plus that it cost to bring him in and pay his salary but I think the front office deserves credit for taking the risk of signing him and owner Andrew Hauptman deserves credit for putting the money up to bring him on. It was an expensive lesson but also a very valuable one that has already played a major role in how the Hauptman ownership team looks at team building. All you have to do is look at the 2011 roster with its core of talented, hard working, economical, no-big name players to see that. This team will be built from the bottom up, not from starting with a star and crafting the team after that. That makes the benefits of the Nery Castillo situation priceless.
As we bid good-bye to Nery Castillo one last time, let's take a look at his exclusive Chicago Fire highlight reel videos I have acquired after the break.