Rafael Márquez

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For other people named Rafael Márquez, see Rafael Márquez (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with several people named Rafael Marques.
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Márquez and the second or maternal family name is Álvarez.
Rafael Márquez
R marquez.jpg
Márquez training with Barcelona in 2009
Personal information
Full name Rafael Márquez Álvarez[1]
Date of birth (1971-02-13) 13 February 1971 (age 44)
Place of birth Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Number 4
Youth career
Club Atlas
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1999 Club Atlas 307 (31)
1999–2003 Monaco 121 (12)
2003–2010 Barcelona 217 (34)
2010–2012 New York Red Bulls 56 (1)
2013–2014 León 61 (11)
2014– Hellas Verona 51 (3)
National team
1999 Mexico U-20 4 (2)
1990– Mexico 129 (15)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 September 2015.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 October 2015

Rafael Márquez Álvarez (Spanish: [rafaˈel ˈmarkes]; born 13 February 1979) is a Mexican footballer who plays for Italian club Verona and the Mexico national team. He can play as a central defender, sweeper, and as a defensive midfielder. He is widely regarded as the best defender in Mexico's history and as one of the best Mexican players of all time.[3][4]

Márquez began his career with Atlas in 1996, playing in over 70 games with the club before moving to France in 1999 with AS Monaco, where he won the league title. In 2003, Márquez transferred to FC Barcelona becoming the first ever Mexican to play for the club. He would go on to play in over 200 games and win numerous championships, including four La Liga titles, three Supercopa de España cups, two Champions League titles, and one Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup trophy. In 2006, he became the first Mexican player to win the UEFA Champions League when Barcelona defeated Arsenal in the Final. In 2010 Márquez joined the New York Red Bulls. After being released from the club in 2012, he moved back to Mexico, this time to play for Club León.[5] After captaining the team to two back-to-back league titles in 2013 and 2014, Márquez transferred to Hellas Verona of the Italian Serie A.[6]

In 2014, Márquez became the first player to captain his national team in four consecutive editions of the FIFA World Cup, captaining the Mexico national team in the 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014 editions of the tournament.[7] Márquez is the Mexican player with the most World Cup matches played with 16.[8]

Throughout his career, Márquez has been criticized by many analysts and journalists for his history of "throwing cheap shots" at players.[4][9] In his home country of Mexico, Márquez has also been criticized for his indiscipline and receiving red cards in crucial moments of important matches.[10][11][12]

Club career[edit]


Rafael Márquez began his career at Mexican club Atlas, for whom he debuted in 1996 at only 17 years of age. Márquez rose to prominence while with Atlas, making 77 appearances for the team and being runner-up in the league, losing the final against Toluca on penalties during the Verano 1999 tournament.


In 1999, AS Monaco purchased him for €7 million. Monaco scouts had gone to see Pablo Contreras during the Copa América tournament that year. After seeing Márquez play, they signed both players. In his first season, Monaco became Ligue 1 champions. In 2003, Márquez was signed by La Liga giants FC Barcelona.


In his first season with Barcelona, Márquez appeared 21 times, and the team came in second place in La Liga. During his second season, he was moved from his natural position as a centre back to a defensive midfield role, due to injuries to players Thiago Motta, Edmílson and Gerard López. That year Barcelona won its 17th league title on 14 May 2005 after a 1–1 tie with Levante. After an injury in his left knee, he returned after a month to play against Milan in the first leg of the 2006 UEFA Champions League semi-final. Barcelona, playing away at the San Siro, won 1–0.

Márquez was present in the Champions League final on 17 May 2006 for Barcelona, in which they won the tournament over Arsenal. This achievement made him the first Mexican football player to win this competition, something Hugo Sánchez was not able to do during his time with Real Madrid.

Márquez with Barcelona in August 2009

After the 2006 World Cup, Barcelona extended Márquez's contract for the following 4 years to €38.5 million which would see his contract end in June 2010. Despite sustaining injuries, he was rumoured to be up for sale at the end of the 2006–07 season. His future at Barça was up in the air until the 2007 Copa América where Mexico finished in third place.

During the 2007–08 season, Márquez formed a partnership with new signing Gabriel Milito while captain Carles Puyol was out injured. However, constant injuries threw off his form. Márquez's success declined with the rest of the season leading Barcelona to end up in third place after a miserable second half where injuries lead to his contribution being negligible. Even so, new coach Pep Guardiola continued to rely on his contributions; with the departure of Ronaldinho, Márquez had become the last original signing of the Frank Rijkaard era to remain on the team.

Márquez was Guardiola's first-choice at centre back along with captain Puyol for the 2008–09 season. On 13 December 2008, Márquez played his 200th match for Barcelona in the clash against Real Madrid, which they won 2–0. He got injured on 28 April 2009, in a match against Chelsea in the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League semi-final. Márquez was told he needed surgery on his left knee, forcing him to miss the rest of the season.[13] Barcelona would go on to win a historic treble after winning the 2008–09 Champions League, though Márquez missed the final through injury.

Prior to the 2009–10 season, Márquez received an offer from Italian side Fiorentina.[14] However, Márquez said he wanted to end his career at Barcelona.[15] Márquez eventually signed a new contract with Barça in November 2009 that would keep him at the club until 2012.[16] On 20 February 2010, he scored his first goal since his return against Racing Santander.

On 31 July 2010, Márquez was released from his contract by Barcelona. During his time with the club, he played in 242 matches and scored 13 goals, making him the most-capped non-European player in the club's history and the eighth most capped foreigner.[17]

New York Red Bulls[edit]

Márquez during his time with the New York Red Bulls

After being released by Barcelona and participating at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it was reported that Italian club Juventus was strongly linked to the Mexican defender, as a back-up for defender Leonardo Bonucci.[18]

On 1 August 2010, it was announced that Márquez had signed with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer on a 3½ year contract.[19] He was the club's third Designated Player and was unveiled to the media at Red Bull Arena on 3 August wearing the number 4 jersey and being reunited at the club with former Barcelona teammate Thierry Henry. On 8 August, Márquez made his MLS debut against the Chicago Fire in a scoreless draw. On 21 August Márquez scored his first goal, an astonishing shot with his right foot, for the Red Bulls in a 4–1 win at Toronto FC. On 21 October, Márquez started for the Red Bulls in a 2–0 victory over New England Revolution which clinched the regular season Eastern Conference title.[20]

New York released Márquez on 13 December 2012.[21] Márquez stint in New York was heavily criticized by many fans and journalist for his constant injuries, suspensions and lack of commitment to the fans and club.[4][9][22] Márquez later revealed in an interview with ESPN Deportes that going to play in the United States was “a bad decision” and called it the worst decision he ever made in his career. He said that he had misjudged the arc of his career, believing it was declining faster than it was, and that he regretted declining offers from various European clubs, including one from Italian side Juventus.[4][23]


Hours after being released by the New York Red Bulls it was announced that Márquez signed with Mexican club León, returning to his home country after thirteen years abroad.[24] It would not be until 5 October 2013 that Márquez scored his first goal for León in the match against Puebla, scoring a penalty kick in the 17th minute.[25]

On 15 December, León captured the Apertura 2013 title after defeating América 5–1 on aggregate.[26] Márquez, the club captain, played in both legs as he lifted his first league title in Mexico, more than 14 years after losing the final against Toluca when he played in Atlas.[27]


On 7 August 2014, Hellas Verona F.C. of Serie A signed Márquez on undisclosed terms.[28] He stated that he had taken a pay cut to join the club as he was desperate to return to Europe.[29] He made his debut in the league on 31 August, starting as Verona played out a goalless draw at home against Atalanta.[30]

International career[edit]

Since making his international debut on 5 February 1997 against Ecuador, Márquez has been a regular selection for the Mexico national team, although he was not chosen for the 1998 FIFA World Cup squad. Márquez has played various tournaments with the Mexican team, winning the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Márquez started all four of Mexico's games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, where he was given the captain's armband by then coach Javier Aguirre despite his young age of 23. He received a red card during Mexico's second round 2–0 loss to the United States for a deliberate mid-air head butt on Cobi Jones in the final minutes of the match.

Márquez was selected by Ricardo La Volpe for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Márquez played in all of three of Mexico's opening round matches, and scored the lone Mexican goal in a 2–1 loss to Argentina in the second round off a Pável Pardo free kick which was headed to the far post by Mario Méndez, allowing an unmarked Márquez to strike the ball into the back of the net. The winner was scored by Maxi Rodríguez in extra time after Hernán Crespo had equalised for Argentina.[31]

New Mexico coach Hugo Sánchez called-up Márquez to participate in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2007 Copa América. Márquez joined up with the team Mexico for the Gold Cup's championship game against the United States after the conclusion of 2006–07 La Liga; he started the match, which Mexico lost 2–1.[32]

Márquez captained Mexico at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, scoring Mexico's goal in the tournament's opening match against South Africa which ended in a 1–1 draw.[33] In Mexico's 2–0 win against France, Márquez assisted Javier Hernández in Mexico's first goal.[34]

On 29 March 2011, Márquez became the eighth player in history to reach 100 caps for Mexico in a friendly match against Venezuela where Mexico drew 1–1.[35]

Márquez defending Marcelo at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

During Mexico's opening match at the 2014 FIFA World Cup – a 1–0 win over Cameroon – Márquez became the first player to captain a team in four World Cups.[4][36] On 23 June, he scored the opening goal in the 3–1 win against Croatia, thus advancing to the knockout stage.[37] This goal made Márquez the first Mexican player to score in three consecutive World Cups, and the second Mexican player ever to score in three different World Cups after Cuauhtémoc Blanco.[38]

In May 2015, it was announced that Márquez was included in the 23 man squad that would participate in the Copa América tournament in Chile.[39] He was selected to start as captain in Mexico's opening fixture of the tournament, a 0–0 draw with Bolivia in Viña del Mar.[40]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 20 September 2015[41]
Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Mexico League Cup North America Total
1996–97 Atlas Primera División 24 2 24 2
1997–98 20 1 20 1
1998–99 33 3 33 3
France League Coupe de France Europe Total
1999–2000 Monaco Ligue 1 23 3 2 0 6 0 31 3
2000–01 15 1 0 0 4 0 19 1
2001–02 19 0 3 0 22 0
2002–03 30 1 0 0 30 1
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
2003–04 Barcelona La Liga 22 1 6 0 3 0 31 1
2004–05 34 3 1 0 6 0 41 3
2005–06 25 0 4 1 8 0 37 1
2006–07 21 1 7 0 7 0 35 1
2007–08 23 2 5 0 8 0 36 2
2008–09 23 1 4 1 10 1 37 3
2009–10 15 1 3 0 5 0 23 1
USA League MLS Cup Playoffs CONCACAF Total
2010 New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer 10 1 2 0 12 1
2011 19 0 2 0 21 0
2012 15 0 2 0 17 0
Mexico League Copa MX Copa Libertadores Total
2012–13 León Liga MX 13 0 1 0 14 1
2013–14 25 1 0 0 7 0 32 1
2014–15 2 0 2 0
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
2014–15 Verona Serie A 27 0 3 0 30 0
2015–16 4 0 2 0 6 0
Mexico 127 7 0 0 8 0 135 7
France 87 5 5 0 10 0 102 5
Spain 163 9 30 2 47 1 240 12
USA 44 1 6 0 50 1
Italy 31 0 5 0 36 0
Career total 452 22 46 2 65 1 562 25


As of 10 October 2015[42]
Mexico national team
Year Apps Goals
1997 1 0
1998 0 0
1999 12 1
2000 10 2
2001 12 0
2002 7 1
2003 4 1
2004 8 1
2005 9 1
2006 6 1
2007 9 1
2008 6 1
2009 2 0
2010 12 1
2011 11 1
2012 2 0
2013 4 1
2014 9 3
2015 5 0
Total 129 15

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Mexico's goal tally first.
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 5 February 1999 Hong Kong Stadium, Wan Chai, Hong Kong  Egypt 1–0 3–0 1999 Carlsberg Cup
2. 13 February 2000 Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, United States  Trinidad and Tobago 1–0 4–0 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup
3. 3 September 2000 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico  Panama 5–1 7–1 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier
4. 12 May 2002 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico  Colombia 2–1 2–1 Friendly
5. 24 July 2003 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico  Costa Rica 1–0 2–0 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup
6. 19 June 2004 Alamodome, San Antonio, United States  Dominica 3–0 10–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier
7. 7 September 2005 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico  Panama 2–0 5–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier
8. 24 June 2006 Zentralstadion, Leipzig, Germany  Argentina 1–0 1–2 (a.e.t.) 2006 FIFA World Cup
9. 28 March 2007 McAfee Coliseum, Oakland, United States  Ecuador 2–2 4–2 Friendly
10. 10 September 2008 Estadio Víctor Manuel Reyna, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico  Canada 2–0 2–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier
11. 11 June 2010 Soccer City, Johannesburg, South Africa  South Africa 1–1 1–1 2010 FIFA World Cup
12. 12 June 2011 Soldier Field, Chicago, United States  Costa Rica 1–0 4–1 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup
13. 13 November 2013 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico  New Zealand 5–0 5–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier
14. 2 April 2014 University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, United States  United States 1–2 2–2 Friendly
15. 23 June 2014 Arena Pernambuco, São Lourenço da Mata, Brazil  Croatia 1–0 3–1 2014 FIFA World Cup



New York Red Bulls




Personal life[edit]

His father, Rafael Márquez Esqueda, was also a professional football player in Mexico. Rafael married Mexican actress Adriana Lavat in December 2001 and had two children, Santiago Rafael and Rafaela, before separating in 2007 and divorcing.[43] He is now married to Jaydy Michel, ex-wife of singer Alejandro Sanz.[44][45]

Outside football[edit]

Márquez was featured in the music video for Shakira's song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" to celebrate South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup.[46]


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  12. ^ "Las polémicas expulsiones de Rafa Márquez". futboltotal.com.mx. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Crawford, Stephen (28 April 2009). "Barcelona Defender Rafael Marquez Out for the Season". Goal.com. Retrieved 27 July 2009. Barcelona centre-back Rafael Marquez has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury in Tuesday night's Champions League clash with Chelsea. 
  14. ^ "Bueno, bonito y barato" [Good, pretty and cheap] (in Spanish). Fox Sports en Español. 14 June 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2009. Florentina ha mostrado su interés formal en el mexicano Rafael Márquez..." ["Florentina have formally demonstrated their interest in the Mexican Rafael Márquez...] 
  15. ^ "Marquez nears Barça return". FIFA. FIFA. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2009. It would be my wish to retire at Barca. I'm very calm with regards the contract renewal. I know that we will arrive at an agreement, so it's only a question of time. 
  16. ^ "Marquez signs new Barca deal". Ontheminute.com. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "Adeu al viute estranger amb mes partits". fcbarcelona.cat. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  18. ^ Juventus Monitor Barcelona Defender Rafael Marquez - Goal.com
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  20. ^ http://www.mlssoccer.com/matchcenter-recap/red-bulls-beat-revs-clinch-eastern-conference
  21. ^ Defender Rafa Marquez Released by New York Red Bulls | New York Red Bulls
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  25. ^ http://espnfc.com/uk/en/gamecast/366756/gamecast.html?soccernet=true&cc=5739
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  30. ^ "Italian Serie A report: Verona held by Atalanta". Sky Sports News. 31 August 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
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  34. ^ Glendenning, Barry. "World Cup 2010: France v Mexico - as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  35. ^ Slevison, Andrew (29 March 2011). "New York Red Bulls’ Marquez triumphs in 100th Mexico cap". TribalFootball.com. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Rafael Marquez makes history by captaining Mexico in FOURTH World Cup as they take on Cameroon in Natal". Daily Mail. 14 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  37. ^ "Croatia 1-3 Mexico". BBC. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
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  41. ^ "Rafael Márquez statistics". ESPN FC. 
  42. ^ Rafael Márquez NFT player statistics
  43. ^ Adriana Lavat y Rafa Márquez firman divorcio por separado/
  44. ^ Jaydy Michel, blaugrana de corazón
  45. ^ Rafael Márquez y su novia, reafirman su amor,
  46. ^ Fairholm, Adam. "Music Video Relapse: "Waka Waka (This Time For Africa)" (2010) by Shakira". IMVDb. FilmedInsert, LLC. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 

External links[edit]