Rafael Marquez

Rafael Marquez Biography – Introduction After Hugo Sanchez retired from the Mexican national team, he had already established a legacy of a prolific striker and many expected that a new Mexican attacker would rise to the challenge and become the leader of the national side. At the same time Sanchez retired, a young defender shyly made his way into the senior Mexican side, at age 18. This teenager, called Rafael Marquez, would soon become the leader of the Mexican team, despite all odds and despite the fact that he wasn't a striker as many expected the next Mexican team leader to be. Rafael Marquez Biography – Early Career Marquez started playing soccer for Mexican side CF Atlas de Guadalajara, making a name for himself early on, as his physical constitution recommended him as a powerful defender and a hot prospect for the club and the Mexican soccer team. His performances with the youth squads of Atlas enforced this prospect and Rafael Marquez came in the attention of the Mexico Youth National Team. Gaining some international experience, he made his professional debut as a soccer player in 1996, at just 17 years of age and he soon became an important member of Atlas' defensive system. He played for 3 seasons with the Mexican side, capping 77 appearances and scoring 6 goals in the process. Despite losing the Mexican league final in 1999 against Club Toluca, Marquez was set for his big move to Europe, as French club Monaco decided to strengthen their ranks with the young Mexican defender. Full name Rafael Marquez Alvarez Date of birth February 13, 1979 Place of birth Zamora, Mexico Height 5.11FT - 1.82M Playing position Centre Back Rafael Marquez Biography – Monaco As with many other Central and South American players, the move to Europe is a shock at first. However, Marquez managed to overcome the adaptability problem and made an immediate impact at his new club, gaining a first team place and helping Monaco win the league title in his first European season, 1999-2000. He would also cap his first appearance for the Mexico national side during this time, despite his tender age. Being 21 years old, Marquez already had 4 seasons' experience as a professional soccer player, was an important member of Monaco and the Mexico national side and had won the French league, feats that some players don’t manage to achieve in an entire career. Season Club Games Goals 1996-1999 CF Atlas 77 6 1999-2003 Monaco FC 89 5 2003- FC Barcelona 103 4 Despite several of Europe's big clubs spotting the tremendous potential of Marquez, Monaco held on tight to their new star, keeping him for 3 more seasons. However, with Marquez' contract soon running out and with FC Barcelona pressing hard, Monaco decided to sell him in the summer of 2003. Years National Team Games Goals 1997- Mexico 79 9 Rafael Marquez Biography – FC Barcelona In 2003 Barcelona was just recovering from a less successful period of time and was in the process of rebuilding a squad that could take the team to the highest peaks of European soccer. Buying players such as Marquez and Ronaldinho that year, FC Barcelona placed the base tile of what would soon become to be known as the "extraterrestrials" team. As he did with Atlas and Monaco, Marquez managed to gain a solid first team place quickly and despite the fact that he's currently in his 4 season with the Spanish club, he rarely felt this position threatened. Helping Barcelona become one of the top European clubs had its fair share of rewards for the Mexican footballer. Silverware and honors started pouring in, Barca winning the Spanish league twice, in 2005 and 2006, the Spanish Super Cup in 2005 and 2006 and the UEFA Champions League in 2006, which is the "World Cup" of club soccer and the performance peak that any soccer player dreams of. Speaking of peaks, at 28 years of age, Marquez is at the highest point of his career, becoming a leader in the locker room of Barcelona and the Mexico national side as well. Reaching all his goals with FC Barcelona, Rafael Marquez will hope to lead the Mexican side to a success in 2010, in the only competition he still craves to win: the World Cup.


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