5 Minutes with...
Capped 88 times for Ecuador, Segundo Castillo's career has taken him full circle, from South America to Europe, a pit stop in the Premier League and then back to where it all began.
I tracked down 'El Mortero Puro Chocolate' for a chat about his brief spell at Goodison Park...
Lockdown life has got us all acting a bit strange, we find ourselves doing things we wouldn’t normally do, a lot of people have been finding new ways to pass the time. I never imagined my new pastime would be speaking to some of the most random Everton players you could ever imagine…
My new found hobby of hunting down some of the more elusive former Everton players has taken me far and wide in recent weeks, resulting in plenty of interesting conversations (not always fruitful, and usually late at night, armed with nothing but a dodgy online translator) and taken me down plenty of dead ends! The funny thing about it all is, the more knock backs you get, and the more disgruntled and unhelpful people you come across, the more it spurs you on to make it all the way and get your man. My latest interview takes me to Ecuador, after I was challenged on Twitter to hunt down Segundo Castillo, a mission I was only too pleased to accept…
I had initially spoken to Segundo’s current club, who didn’t give me the time of day, so when I was eventually led to the man himself, I wasn’t at all hopeful of my contact being well received. In reality, I could not have been any more wrong…
“Hello my friend! How are you? I hope you are good, and I send greetings to you and your family” was the first message I received from Segundo.
He comes across as a larger than life character, with an infectious personality, not what I had expected at all. He is well thought of by his colleagues, and very popular with the fans in Ecuador, where Castillo’s huge smile can be seen plastered across most of his clubs social media page.
The self-labelled ‘Pure Chocolate Mortar’ (make of that what you will!) is still playing professional football at the ripe old age of 38, he can be found marshalling the midfield of Guayaquil City F.C, in Ecuador’s Serie A.
Guayaquil City F.C have found themselves in the news most recently, due to the murder of one of their young midfielders – Edwin Espinoza, who was shot dead outside his own home last month, aged just 20. Mistaken identity was the reason given by club director Carlos Franco.
A scroll through Segundo Castillo’s social media page shows more evidence of that infectious personality, let’s just say he is not a man who takes himself too seriously.
I had to check if it was the red wine going to my head, or if I really was watching a video he posted of himself, wearing a tight fitting yellow dress, complete with a wig and singing into a banana! Seriously, go check it out, our own Tim Cahill seemed to enjoy it too!
The things you find on the internet…
His spell at Everton was brief, less than 10 appearances in the royal blue jersey. Segundo Castillo joins a host of Everton fly-by-nights who will often come up in pub conversations: “Bloody hell, remember him!”
Brought in on an initial one year loan deal from Red Star Belgrade, Castillo arrived with quite a remarkable goal scoring record for a defensive midfielder, scoring 18 goals in 72 games – an average of a goal every 4 games for the Serbian side. It was a transfer window that brought in a host of Free Transfers in Louis Saha, Lars Jacobsen and Carlo Nash.
The only money spent was on Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, as the South African maestro had his loan move from Dortmund made permanent. The signing of Castillo was perhaps an underwhelming one for blues fans who had been hoping all summer for the arrival of Joao Moutinho, Stéphane Mbia or Tiago, who had all been consistently linked with moves to Goodison Park.
Castillo was an established international by the time he arrived on Merseyside, after making his debut for Ecuador at the age of 17, going on to play a major part in their World Cup 2006 campaign, and later playing helping them reach the 2014 World Cup. As is so often the case with Everton signings, injury hampered his arrival at the club, but he did mark his home debut with an absolute rocket of a goal against Standard Liege in the UEFA Cup.
It was pretty much downhill from there on in for Segundo, although a special nod to his performance away to Chelsea where he remembers fondly keeping Lampard, Drogba and co at bay at Stamford Bridge. He would go on to be part of the matchday squad for both of Everton’s 2009 FA Cup appearances at Wembley, albeit as an unused substitute in both.
“That was something that was very nice for me to reach the FA Cup Final, I would have really liked to have won it and left that nice memory for the club, but it was still a wonderful season playing European football.”
Castillo admits he was gutted to leave Everton and would have loved to have made the move permanent, he feels he could have shown more and proved he could be a success in time.
“My arrival at Everton made me very happy, when I had to leave I was very sad, because I thought that If I could continue at the club it would go very well for me and I could learn to adapt even more.”
He suggests Everton did make an offer to make the move permanent, but it was not for the amount that had previously been agreed...
“Red Star of Serbia were in control of me and they did not accept the proposal from Everton that was less than what had been agreed as the purchase option at the start of the loan deal. But I really enjoyed that year with Everton and fell in love with the club, I was treated very well and living in Liverpool, in the Albert Dock area was a wonderful experience.”
Another loan move followed, joining Wolves and making even less apearances at Molineux, before he returned to his native Ecuador joining S.D Quito, in the capital. A host of moves around various South American leagues then followed, offset by a short stint in Saudi Arabia, playing for Al-Hilal.
“Thanks to god, he gave me the chance to play in many leagues all around the world and for good clubs with lots of fans, but the Premier League is totally different and so passionate with so much responsibility to those around you. Also the organization and professionalism of the league is fabulous, I would have loved to have played my entire career there, I was very happy in the Premier League.”
So what of his plans for the future?
“My plan when I finish playing is to continue as a coach or technical assistant, I already like to help the young players I meet in their development as players, I hope that when my playing career is over I can continue doing this as a coach.”
His personality and warmth gives me the impression that regardless of how competent he becomes as a coach; he is somebody that young players will benefit from just being around.
“I send you a big hug and many blessings, take care of yourself friend!” he signs off with.
What a genuinely nice guy!
Good luck for the future Segundo, I am sure those legs have a good few seasons left in them yet!