• Thursday Dec 29, 2016

    Castillo to add attacking drive to Pumas

    New Pumas acquisition Nicolas Castillo (pictured) trains on December 28, 2016, in Mexico City. (Photo courtesy of Pumas)

    MEXICO CITY – Following elimination at the quarterfinal stage of the 2016 Liga MX Apertura playoffs, Pumas management got to work on improving the roster for the 2017 Clausura and the 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League knockout rounds.

    Out the door went midfielders Saul Berjon and Fidel Martinez (Atlas); defenders Marcelo Alatorre (Veracruz) and Luis Fuentes (Monterrey); and forwards Eduardo Herrera (Veracruz) and Jose Alfonso Nieto (Herediano).  The offensive production generated by Alatorre, Berjon, Hererra, Martinez and Nieto will be sorely missed as the quintet combined for ten goals and six assists in SCCL group-stage play.

    Four new faces have been welcomed: Nicolas Castillo (forward, Universidad Catolica); Alan Mendoza (midfielder, Dorados); Bryan Rabello (forward, Santos); and Erik Vera (defender, Necaxa).

    Castillo’s acquisition, however, may prove to be the most significant move of all.

    The Chile international enjoyed a fruitful 2016, scoring 29 goals for Universidad Catolica and also helping his country claim the 2016 Copa America Centenario crown.  He came on as a extra-time substitute in the final against Argentina, converting what would be the clinching kick in Chile’s 4-2 penalty shootout triumph.

    “I’m thankful for the trust that the club gave me and the manager (Juan Francisco Palencia) when I talked with him; that helped a lot in coming,” said Castillo.  “Now I want to add my grain of sand being a champion with Pumas.”

    Known as ‘the Chilean Ibrahimovic’, the 23-year-old Castillo possesses speed, a powerful shot, is strong in the air and unafraid to enter a 50-50 challenge.  Along with Matias Britos or Santiago Palacios up front, he could be a key part of what has the potential to be a formidable partnership.

    Pumas’ Clausura campaign launches on January 7 with a visit to Guadalajara.  Castillo is eager to get to work.

    “I like very much the idea and the project that the manager pitched to me,” he finished.  “Physically, I’m well.  I was in the gym for several days and I want to train as soon as possible.”


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