"The 28-year-old is what some experts would call polyvalent. Castro can both attack and defend. At the back he defends cleverly, but also has the ability to cause sudden counter attacks with his intelligent passing. At Bayer Leverkusen he always occupied the more offensive of the attacking defenders, but he's also played centre-midfield, attacking-midfield and even right-back."
The most recent kicker rankings are a sign of his success, as he occupies the position of best devensive midfielder. Not Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara, Philipp Lahm or Bastian Schweinsteiger, but Gonzalo Castro. Castro is a leading player in international football, and since 1st July 2015, an important part of Borussia Dortmund. BVB has found itself a new star.
It is natural that a player should want to continue where they started off - with a bang. Castro, 28, belonged to the extremely gifted U21 national team at the 2009 Europoean Championship. He started for his team throughout the tournament in Sweden, and scored the all-important goal against England which put them 1-0 up. However, unlike Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Höwedes, Sami Khedira und Mesut Özil, he was not part of the national A team in 2014, and so could not become a world champion. So the main thing that's missing in his resume is the all-important title.
It must be difficult for someone with Castro's talent to always be chasing after the big triumphs and the sustained continuation of his international career. The prospects of both are higher now for the German-born at Borussia Dortmund than they were at Leverkusen.
"You get the whole package at Dortmund," says Castro, and specifies: "Chances are better here, because there's somehow more ambition. BVB is a huge club, and a great club." This is why he's left his "home" club. Gonzalo Castro spent more than half of his life at Bayer Leverkusen; 16 years altogether, eleven of those as a professional.
He played 286 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen, scored 25 goals and contributed to 57 more. Last season he played 22 games - and takes third position underneath Arjen Robben (2,16) and Kevin De Bruyne (2,73) on kicker's table for best midfielder. Especially happy about the signing was sport manager Michael Zorc: "We're excited to have such an experienced and technically-polished player on the team, especially a player who is strong in multiple positions."
The pressure to perform in the midfield is higher now that Castro plays alongside such a strong line - but the 28-year-old sees this as a positive. "Competition improves you. I'm looking forward to playing alongside Shinji Kagawa, Micky, Gündogan, Bender, Weigl and the others. It'll motivate me to be better at training," he says. He is ready to use his exceptional talent in service of his team. And he'll take on his competition in the same way that he plays his football: calm, collected, confident, and convincing.
These are characteristics that also come in handy with his hobby: fishing. "My dad always used to take me with him. Now when I'm on holiday in Spain or Italy, I love to fish. It's a really good way to relax," explains Gonzalo Castro, before adding: "although I must admit that I'm yet to get my fishing permit..."