The Chicago Fire have agreed to loan Designated Player Nery Castillo out to Greek club Aris for five months, with an option to bring the Mexican playmaker back to Chicago on a permanent transfer this summer.
Castillo, 26, came to the Fire on an 18-month loan from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk last July. Shaktar still own the rights to Castillo, but Fire officials reiterated Thursday that the mercurial forward’s time at Toyota Park is not through after a disappointing first go-around in Major League Soccer.
“This is a great opportunity for Nery to get consistent playing time on the field and we look forward to monitoring his progress in the coming months,” Fire technical director Frank Klopas said in a statement.
The former Mexican national-teamer was a star for Greek side Olympiakos in 2006-07. However, he failed to score or log an assist in eight appearances this season for Chicago as he battled fitness and injury issues after missing regular action in the months leading up to his arrival.
“He was really looking forward to excel in MLS and he was surprised by the high level of the league and its physical aspect,” Fire coach Carlos de los Cobos told Mexican newspaper La Crónica de Hoy. “It is for that reason that he couldn’t adapt to the style that is played here.
"However, he is a player with great talent, a good player, but he knows that he didn’t have a good tournament. He missed the preseason and didn’t get to an optimal level of fitness. It’s a normal thing that if you’re not fit, it is difficult to apply and develop your talents correctly.”