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Tuesday, 23 March 2010 14:27

Under-fire Ze Castro sees World Cup dreams fade

Defender finally back in action

Deportivo La Coruna defender Ze Castro made his first full league appearance in six months at the weekend against Valladolid. It was an unhappy return for the Portuguese, however, as he was substituted to a chorus of whistles in a shock defeat for the Galicians.

Having been a first choice at the heart of the Deportivo defence throughout last season following his move from fellow La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid, former Academica stopper Ze Castro has found life much tougher this year.

The 27-year-old played in Depor’s 3-2 home defeat to Espanyol on September 19th last year, but had not started since, ahead of playing at the Riazor at the weekend. Ze Castro has often expressed his frustration at the lack of first-team football and stated a desire to leave the club, and the impact on his relationship with the home fans was evident when he was subjected to whistles while being substituted midway through the second half.

“Everyone has the right to say what they want. In the last game, we played well, but this time things did not go as we wanted. People forget quickly,” said the Portuguese. “It doesn’t affect me. Some applauded; some whistled. I am confident in my game.

“Perhaps they were influenced by some declarations I made which were misinterpreted. I don’t need people to cheer or applaud me. Of course it’s better to have applause, but football changes so much, because last season I had a great year.”

Related article: Ze Castro seeking Deportivo exit

On the time spent on the sidelines, Ze Castro admitted it has been a difficult period in his career. The Coimbra native also recognises that his situation at club level has made it all but impossible for him to make it into Carlos Queiroz’s Portugal squad ahead of the World Cup finals in South Africa.

“It was six months I was not involved, which is a hell of a long time. Never in my career have I experienced anything like that. I think I ran more than usual and felt more tired than usual. I played in midfield, where I have not played much, but it didn’t feel strange. I can play there, but I can’t be judged on just one game.

“If we speak about my future this summer, it will be with calmness and respect. This is football; last year was great and now I’m faced with this situation. The World Cup? I think it’s very difficult. Months ago I was in a very good position in terms of making it, but now….”

By Sean Gillen

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