Athletes / Martin Castrogiovanni
Born in Argentina from a family of Italian origin of Enna, Castrogiovanni grew up as a prop in the rugby section of the Club Atlético Estudiantes of Paraná. He arrived in Italy in 2001, at the age of 20, for his first professional engagement in the ranks of Calvisano. Castrogiovanni played five seasons with the Lombard club, winning the title of Italian champion once and reaching the final another time, but losing it; he also won a Coppa Italia.
Thanks to his Italian ancestors, and as he had never represented Argentina at senior level, Martín Castrogiovanni was immediately available for the national team, with which he makes his first appearance in 2002 in a test against the All Blacks in Hamilton. In 2003 he took part in his first Six Nations and then became part of the team selected by coach John Kirwan for the Rugby World Cup in 2003 in Australia.
In 2006 he moved to England, playing in the Premiership with Leicester, with whom, at the end of the first season, he won the national title and was nominated “best player of the year” (the first prop to be honoured with this prestigious award). The new coach Pierre Berbizier also placed him on the national team on a permanent basis and selected him for the Rugby World Cup in 2007 in France. Under the technical leadership of coach Nick Mallett, during the Six Nations in 2008 he scored a try in the first four of the five matches of the tournament, against Ireland, England, Wales and France.
In 2009 he won his second English title with Leicester, repeated in 2010. A year later he signed with Leicester for a further two seasons, refusing an offer from the French team of Toulon. He took part in the Rugby World Cup in 2011, his third in a row, and the new coach Jacques Brunel, the fourth coach to cap him with the national team, confirmed Castrogiovanni for the Six Nations in 2012 and in 2013.
In June 2013, after having won his fourth English title, Castrogiovanni left Leicester to move to Toulon. On 16 November 2013, during a test match in Cremona against Fiji, Castrogiovanni, together with Sergio Parisse, reached one hundred caps with the Italian national team.
In 2013, in recognition of his career in the highest English league, Castrogiovanni was placed in the Premiership Rugby Hall of Fame; so far, he is the only Italian player to have obtained this recognition. He won the Top14 in his first year in Toulon and with the same club he won the Heineken Cup in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. He has been with Racing Métro 92 from the 2015 season.
In 2016, after being suspended by Racing Métro, he announced his retirement, playing his last game with Club Atlético Estudiantes of Paranà, the team with which he started playing rugby. The retirement was caused by health problems. In fact, the Italian champion was hit by a lumbar plexus schwannoma, a type of cancer which is benign in 99% of cases.