Gonzalo Castro has certainly come on in leaps and bounds this season at Bayer Leverkusen. Despite being a fringe and often regular player since 2004, 2007 saw the German defender begin to show the talent that has earned him praise and a call up to the German national team under Joachim Low.
Castro initially had the option of appearing for both Spain and Germany; instead deciding on playing for his birth country Germany. He appeared for the German U-21s at 2006's UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship.
Castro has now appeared five teams for the full international team.
Ever since, Castro has demonstrated his value. Leverkusen had given the defender a new contract in November 2007 as Castro continued to repay the confidence shown in him.
"Bayer is my club and I'm convinced that we will have a lot of success with our team," Castro told the club's official website after signing a new deal until 30 June 2012.
Castro's superb performances have seen him become one of the first names in Michael Skibbe's starting line-up at Leverkusen.
Castro is capable of playing at centre back; but instead plays at right back for Leverkusen, showing useful bursts of pace and attacks down the right flank.
One player very similar in style to Castro is Daniel Alves. Castro enjoys getting down the flanks to send balls into the box, as Leverkusen showed Blackburn in their UEFA Cup battle recently when two probing runs down the right caught out the Blackburn defence as Schneider was there to send the ball home.
One of the most rewarding things for Leverkusen is the fact that he is slowly but surely becoming a top class asset. He was thrown into Champions League action aged only 16, but even still showed an incredible level headedness and eagerness to prove his worth.
If Castro keeps his form up to scratch he will be on the bus to Austria and Switzerland in the summer.
A talented, versatile youngster with a great future ahead of him.
Current Ability: 36/50