It's not common to see a player crying and asking his coach to sub him out after committing a penalty kick. But that's how life is going for Byron Castillo, the man who could potentially result in Ecuador getting kicked out of the 2022 World Cup.
Byron Castillo cries after committing a penalty
The Barcelona SC player has been facing intense public scrutiny in recent weeks after FIFA decided to investigate the legitimacy of the documents that prove he is Ecuadorian. The media attention has also been relentless around the case, while other legal issues – a child support demand – have just added more pressure on his shoulders: so much pressure that last Sunday vs. Aucas, he exploded in tears, calling desperately for help.
The TV cameras captured the moment.
"¡Sácame! ¡Sácame, ahora!" (Take me out! Take me out, now!) you can read in his lips, asking his coach Jorge Celico to sub him out after committing a penalty that put Aucas 2-0 ahead.
Byron Castillo con lágrimas en los ojos pidiendo al DT que lo saque de la cancha. “Sácame, Sácame” decía el lateral derecho.Byron cometió un penal. Barcelona pierde 2 a 0.
: GOLTV pic.twitter.com/IPaFpUcBIc
— Colores Sports.ec (@coloressportsec) May 23, 2022
Celico complied with Castillo's petition during halftime and shared his opinions about the player at the end of the game.
"Byron Castillo is a victim of the power of the modern media," he said during a press conference. "He is carrying a big emotional load, and for me, it's admirable he is even training with the team. All of this is because the issue with the federation, about whether it is or is not (Ecuadorian), whether it was or was not (Colombian), and if there is a trial or there is no trial."
¡CASTILLO ES UNA VÍCTIMA DEL PODER MEDIÁTICO!Jorge Célico "El chico (Byron) tiene una carga emocional muy difícil de sobrellevar" pic.twitter.com/2jPFNgWzUg
— Tribuna Amarilla (@TribunaBsc) May 23, 2022
After the incident, the player now is receiving psychological support and didn't travel to Uruguay, where Barcelona SC will play against Montevideo Wanderers for Copa Sudamericana on May 25.
But wait, what exactly is going on with Byron Castillo?
The nightmare for Castillo started at the beginning of May when Chile filed an official claim asking FIFA to determine if his nationality was really Ecuadorian and not Colombian.
The legal maneuver could have a massive impact on the CONMEBOL qualifiers' outcome. If FIFA agrees with Chile, Ecuador could lose all the points collected in games where Castillo was fielded. Doing the math for you: Castillo played eight games during the process, and Ecuador could lose up to 16 points, which will kick them out of the World Cup.
Eventually, the points deducted should be distributed among the countries that faced Ecuador with Castillo in the lineup. And in that reshuffling, Chile would be the most benefited, jumping from being eliminated in the seventh-place to directly qualified in the fourth, leapfrogging Colombia and Perú.
Si le quitan puntos a Ecuador por los documentos de Byron Castillo ganarían puntos.Chile +5
Ecuador tendría -16 pts de deducción, Chile iría al Mundial y Perú mantendría el 5to puesto. Todo esto es un SUPUESTO.
— LaEterna (@LaEterna10) April 26, 2022
"Byron has to speak his truth," said Eduardo Carlezzo, the lawyer representing Chile in the investigation. "Today, he risks being sanctioned for life, but he still has time to escape from such a heavy punishment."
In Ecuador, on the other hand, they insist that Castillo's papers are in order.
When will FIFA have a resolution in the case? It's hard to tell, but one can imagine something before the intercontinental playoffs scheduled in the middle of June.