Nery Castillo gesticulates to the media during his most memorable press conference on March 24, 2009
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Castillo's fiesty attitude fits right into Chicago tradition

BRIDGEVIEW Ill. – Fire Designated Player Nery Castillo isn’t one to hold back.  Ever.

The 26-year-old forward is already legendary for his spats with the Mexican media, his sometimes tenuous relations with teammates and managers, and his fiery nature.

Normally, those qualities would be perceived as potential pitfalls for a big-money signing. But that’s not how the Fire are viewing things. In fact, the team is embracing the "intense" attitude of its newest acquisition. 

“He’s a player that has a strong personality and a strong temper,” said Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos. “That is going to strengthen our team and help us out a lot. This is our first step in a positive way for the Chicago Fire.”

Castillo’s controversial personality certainly could do good things for the Fire. The team has lacked a certain bite on the field this season, something that is not indicative of the organization’s history. Castillo could bring that sting back to Chicago. 

“I think it’s going to be great,” Fire defender C.J. Brown said when asked about the impact Castillo’s attitude would have on the team. “You always want somebody with a little attitude and hopefully he can spark it on the field ... that’s what we were always about.

"We fought when we needed to fight and we played when we needed to play," Brown continued. "[Cuauhtémoc] Blanco had the same type of attitude, [Hristo] Stoitchkov same attitude, [Peter] Nowak same attitude so I think it’s good for us.”

But a return to a rough and tumble attitude will mean little to the Fire if Castillo can’t produce on the field – where he’ll ultimately be judged. 

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for  He can be reached at