Club wants more for Castillo deal

Shakhtar Donetsk’s president is willing to loan the club’s most expensive acquisition – Mexican midfielder Nery Castillo, formerly of Olympiakos – but for no less than 5 million euros a year, the club’s website said yesterday. Castillo’s agent told Mexican television on Friday that an agreement has been struck with Manchester City to loan him out, but club president Rinat Akhmetov said the offer of a million euros with an option to buy Castillo was rejected as too low. «A one-year loan – 5 million euros – and there will be no options, meaning a right to buy [Castillo],» said Akhmetov. «If Castillo finds his game… then in a year we’ll decide whether to take him back to Shakhtar or sell. And the price could be 20, or 30, or 40, or 50 million euros.» Shakhtar bought the Mexican last summer for 20 million euros in a deal that rated as the most expensive transfer ever involving a Greek club and one of the most expensive buys in post-Soviet club history. But the player did not impress. «He was a star at Olympiakos, and he came here like a star… Probably, he thought that if we paid 20 million euros for him, his place in the team was certain. But he forgot that this has to be won,» Akhmetov said. In other developments, Iraklis coach Ivan Jovanovic resigned yesterday after contending that the club had not done enough to stop officials from interfering with his job. The Serb coach, who lifted Iraklis from the relegation zone to a midtable position in recent weeks, is leaving the club for the second time this year. Also yesterday, AEK striker Nikos Lyberopoulos was voted the league’s Best Greek Player by the Greek Association of Professional Soccer Players for last season. Teammate Rivaldo was voted Best Foreign Player. Sotiris Ninis of Panathinaikos won the Best Young Player award. Panionios’s Evald Linen was voted Best Coach. (Reuters, Kathimerini)