Perth Glory attacking midfielder Diego Castro has lit up Hyundai A-League Season 11 with a series of stunning performances.
Having already won the Fox Sports Alex Tobin Medal and two Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA)’s Player of the Month awards, Castro is one of the hot favourites to be awarded the A-League''s prestigious Johnny Warren Medal at season’s end.
He's certainly a strong contender for the club's Most Glorious Player award (MGP).
We review the key moments and highlights in the first season for ‘El Maestro' at Perth Glory.
AUGUST 5, 2015: Diego Castro signs for Perth Glory FC
Diego Castro is signed from Getafe, a team he scored for against Iker Casillas & Real Madrid at the Bernabeu just three months before putting pen to paper for Glory. Most Glory fans were excited by the arrival of Castro, but had no idea of the immense talent he possessed.
Read his signing article here: Diego Castro joins Perth Glory
OCTOBER 25, 2015: Castro scores his first Glory goal against Adelaide United in Round 3
After debuting in Round 1 against Central Coast Mariners, Castro was hampered by calf issues. Coming off the bench against eventual Premiers Adelaide United, Castro tapped home Richard Garcia’s pinpoint low cross at the back post to register the first of his 13 goals in Glory colours.
DECEMBER 12, 2015: Castro & Reiners link up to down Melbourne Victory (Round 5 – re-scheduled match)
It was one of the heart-warming moments of our season, teenage talent Jamal Reiners made a driving run into the six-yard-box before squaring his pass to Castro at the front post to score the winner. El Maestro didn’t wheel away for himself, he headed straight for young Reiners in celebration and has remained a key mentor for the youngster throughout this season.
JANUARY 16, 2016: El Maestro scores a stunning free kick against Melbourne City. (Round 15)
Glory are down 1-0 at home to City, with a free kick in shooting range in the dying moments of the first half. Up steps Castro; he curls a spectacular free kick over the wall and into the top corner, leaving former English Premier League goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen helpless.
JANUARY 24, 2016: Diego destroys Newcastle Jets in 6-1 drubbing (Round 16)
This was the first instance when the league sat up and finally took notice of Diego Castro; he absolutely tormented the Jets on their own turf, weaving two clever goals.
JANUARY 30, 2016: Castro Panenkas Glory to a memorable win over Victory (Round 17)
What a match this was; Andy Keogh & Castro were at their sparkling best, continuously harassing the Victory defence. Castro put Glory 2-0 up when he scored from close range, Victory dragged the score back to 2-2 through Besart Berisha until Keogh won a penalty in the 82nd minute. Castro stepped up and in the cheekiest of styles, chipped his penalty past Danny Vukovic to give Glory a resounding 3-2 win.
FEBRUARY & MARCH: Castro puts in several man-of-the-match performances
From January 30 onwards, El Maestro hit top gear; earning man-of-the-match plaudits in almost every single game he appeared in. Castro scored three times over the two months, picking up the PFA Player of the Month award for both February and March ahead of other league talents like Mooy & Fornaroli. During this period, Glory won seven of their eight matches played, propelling the club to finals football.
APRIL 3, 2016: Diego scores goal of the season against Melbourne City (Round 26)
Seriously, Thomas Sorensen must be sick of facing Diego Castro. In the 71st minute, Keogh floated a hopeful ball in the direction of Castro. Under pressure from Malik and the difficult trajectory of the cross, Castro goes for the first time volley. In a moment of football perfection, El Maestro connects beautifully with the ball, slamming a ferocious strike past Sorensen, right into the bottom right corner to score one of the goals of the season. nib Stadium went absolutely mental, as Castro celebrated with the Shed in stoic style.
MID-APRIL, 2016: Castro begins his first Hyundai A-League finals campaign
El Maestro has proven he can do it with expectation on his back. Castro is arguably the greatest player to pull on the purple and white; will he etch his name into the Hyundai A-League history books this finals series?
We certainly hope so. Vamos Diego!