Castro-inspired Perth should have clubs 'very nervous'
In April, Diego Castro pledged his footballing allegiance to Perth Glory, signing a two-year contract that will likely see the Spaniard end his playing career in the capital of West Australia.
If the 37-year-old signed a five-year extension tomorrow, you'd wager Glory fans would not bat an eyelid.
It is no wonder Perth CEO Tony Pignata said the reigning Premiers would 'do whatever it takes' to retain the services of the ex-La Liga attacker, when the man fondly known as 'El Maestro' performs as he did in Glory's 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.
Sunday's trip across the ditch was to face Phoenix at a wild, windy Westpac Stadium was the kind of away day venture Castro may have been protected from during the earlier months of his Hyundai A-League tenure.
But in his 100th Hyundai A-League match for Glory, the diminutive Spaniard demonstrated another clear reminder that he is operating on a different level to that of his colleagues.
"It's like he's playing in a rondo that's 100 metres by 70 metres wide, with a whole bunch of other players," lauded SKY TV commentator Fred de Jong, as Castro effortlessly glided around Wellington amid a mild windstorm in the New Zealand capital.
The quality of Castro's touches in such difficult conditions were evident in the role he played in both Glory goals on the evening.
For Bruno Fornaroli's first, the Spaniard turned Ulises Davila and Louis Fenton inside out before picking out the Uruguayan to prod home his first in Glory colours.
Castro's clipped pass for Ivan Franjic during the lead up to Chris Ikonomidis' second took eight Phoenix players out of the game
Tony Popovic recently said Castro, Fornaroli and Ikonomidis would need time to gel to fire Perth to silverware again this season.
While there will be sterner challenges than Ufuk Talay's impressive but inexperienced Phoenix side in the coming weeks, Glory's new front three already look capable of delivering on the hype.
"The union of Castro with Fornaroli was one of the biggest talking points of the competiton [in pre-season]," added FOX Sports commentator Andy Harper.
"A lot of clubs should be very nervous."
In particular, Popovic will be very pleased with Fornaroli's opener, a goal the Uruguayan marksman had to wait almost a year for.
He had last found the net in the Hyundai A-League in a 2-0 win for Melbourne City against the Phoenix on Friday, November 6 2018.
"He could have had a couple more," Popovic noted.
"The chances are being created and I'm sure this will be the beginning of the goal return for Bruno."
And, with the mercurial Castro pulling the strings, it could be the start of another special season for Perth.
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