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Player Profile: Ze Castro  


Ze CastroFull name: Jose Eduardo Rosa Vale e Castro
Position: Defender
Date of Birth: 13 January 1983
Birthplace: Coimbra, Portugal


Ze Castro started his professional career playing for his hometown club, Academica de Coimbra. After coming through the youth ranks, the tall defender rapidly established himself a first-team regular.

His impressive reading of the game and good ability on the ball, coupled with a committed playing style were so impressive he was made team captain barely having left his teenage years behind him.

By the summer of 2006 a move to a bigger club had become inevitable. Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich all expressed an interest, but Castro decided to stay closer to home and crossed the border to sign for La Liga giants Atletico Madrid.

Outshining senior compatriots

The then 23-year-old was one of a trio of Portuguese players bought during the 2006 close season by Atletico Madrid, the other two being seasoned Portugal internationals and Champions League winners Maniche and Costinha, of whom much was expected. However, at the end of the season it was Castro alone who had thoroughly won over the home supporters as a firm fans’ favourite.

After biding his time in his quest for action behind first choice central defensive pairing Luis Perea and Pablo Ibanez, an injury to Pablo in November gave the young Portuguese his chance in a side that relied on a strong defence, as goals were proving difficult to come by.

Castro needed no second invitation, playing 15 out of Atletico’s next 17 matches, particularly impressing in a 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp and scoring winning goals in 1-0 victories over Getafe and Osasuna.

He ended a highly satisfactory first year in Spain with his stock well and truly enhanced. At one stage Chelsea and Manchester United were rumoured to be chasing his signature, but the Atletico board immediately issued a statement that Castro was very much part of the club’s plans to build a team capable of challenging for the Spanish championship title.

Coruna switch

Unfortunately, Ze Castro did not follow up his debut season in Spain with equal success, and by the end of the campaign rarely featured for the Madrid team. He opted for a loan move to Deportivo La Coruna, and after impressing for the Galician team the option for a permanent transfer was activated.

To complete a highly satisfactory turnaround in his fortunes, Ze Castro was given his Portugal debut by Carlos Queiroz in the friendly match against Estonia on 10 June 2009.

by Tom Kundert (13/06/2009)

Atletico Madrid302
Deportivo La Coruna**291

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2009

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