Rafael Marquez hopes more countrymen will come to Europe

The most famous Mexican player in the world talks about his example to fellow players, his growth as a player, his contract, and a nagging knee injury.

Rafael Marquez is the first Mexican to make it to the Champions League final. Though glad for the achievement, he’s saddened by the lack of compatriots in Europe.

Knowing his influence could open doors for other Mexican players—as it has for Jared Borgetti and Guillermo Franco—he feels it has not been enough to persuade many others from leaving their home roots.

“There aren’t too many Mexicans coming to play over here, and that’s the problem,” Marquez told ESPN Deportes’ RECORD solemnly, “I’ve been out of Mexico for seven years and not many have followed me.”

“I keep trying to bridge the gap, to open doors for players to follow, while furthering my career and reaching my goals.”

Said ambition has turned Marquez into the best Mexican soccer export in recent times, though he’s taking it all in stride.

Maturity

Marquez has clearly evolved, matured as a player. Proof of this is the fact he did not commit a single foul against AC Milan in Barcelona’s semifinal series; not bad for the man who was dismissed from the USA match in ’02 (a 2-0 loss) and red-carded in the ’05 Confederations Cup game versus Argentina.

“You learn from your mistakes, you become mature and try not to repeat them. I’ve matured quite a bit to not repeat those mistakes. In Milan and Barcelona I did well and hope to stay on the same track.”

Rafa admits his expectations have far been exceeded since his arrival in Europe, as this year Barça is on the verge of a championship double—their 18th La Liga title and 2nd Champions League title.

“I dreamed of playing in Europe. I never imagined all that’s occurred, but now that it’s here I want to work hard to continue to reach new heights and keep it up for many years.”

Evidently, greatness is contagious, as being accustomed to playing with the world soccer elite has elevated his game to the highest level, making the Mexican national’s marriage to the Catalan side a success story for all.
“The team has matured greatly, and we’ve worked hard to make this happen. We’ve learned from past mistakes, from lost games.”

Contract Talks

Marquez mentioned there have not been talks to renew his contract, which expires in ’07.
“We haven’t reached an agreement yet,” Marquez said. “Of course both sides are eager to renew, but we have yet to sit down and resolve the issue.”

Toughing it out

Keeping a high level in two tournaments has not been easy for Marquez, as he’s been bothered by ligament strains on his left knee. Surgery’s not an option at the moment; the damage will have to be repaired following the World Cup, and in the meantime, he’ll tough it out.

“I’ve felt much better, but the problems won’t go away,” said Marquez. “Little by little, however, the injury’s getting better, and I’ve had less troubles. I hope to keep going like this as long as possible. If I require surgery I’ll do it at the appropriate time, but right now it’s evolving well. After the World Cup, some time will have to be made for surgery, but not now.”


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  • missael

    I think he’s gonna stop henry henry on wendesday, hes the best…

  • Memo

    Everyone is hoping after the World Cup mexican players could go play in Europe if they play good in the World Cup

  • jose gonzalez

    hes the best,i want to be like him when i grow up. he is a good defender n with the help of Puyol the captain they are unstopable.

  • Yvette

    I think Rafa is a good player, because he has gone a long way and should keep up the great work. Its not easy going from nothing to something. Also other Mexicans soccer players should follow whats his doing, that will be great if they did and that will be giving Mexicans a good name.

  • DG

    I Love rafael marquez it would be a shame if his knee injury ends his career

  • Aracely A.

    I love you!! You are really a heroic figure for Mexicans. Hopefully other Mexican players will follow you footsteps. Good luck in the World Cup and becareful with that knee. Viva Michoacan!!!!!!!

  • fidel

    i would like to say that rafa marquez and ronaldinho are the best players in the world

  • Ernesto

    i would like to say that ernesto and ronaldinho are the best players in the world

  • fidel

    ronaldinho says that fidel mendoza rios is the best soccer player in the whole world

  • Ernesto

    I think the best tree players in the world are the first one is ronaldinho samuel etto and cristiano ronaldo rafa marquez cuauthemoc blanco omar bravo michael ballack beckham

  • Anita

    Marry me!

  • ernesto

    merry me aracely

  • Aracely A

    Okay;;;;;;;;;;;What your adrees?????????????????

  • ernesto

    how old are you

  • karlita

    hola corazon solo queria decirte que me encantas soy de san antonio tx y estas bellisimo y algun dia me gustaria conocerte pero no lo creo verdad jajaj pero eso es todo bye bye.

  • janet

    Me gusta Rafael Marquez!!!
    viva Mexico!!!!

  • janet

    Me gusta Rafael Marquez!!!
    viva Mexico!!!!

  • janet

    Me gusta Rafael Marquez!!!
    viva Mexico!!!!

  • Monica

    Te Amo….Rafa Marquez!

  • LINDA

    RAFA MARQUEZ, ESTAS BIEN GUAPO TE QUIERO MUCHO, DIOS QUIERA NOS VAYA BIEN Y GANEMOS A PORTUGAL…… VIVA MEXICO

  • VJosa

    Ola Rafael is so beautiful… Vivo MEXICO

  • Sara

    Hay Rafita que penal tan hermoso le regalaste a Polonia! Lo bueno es que eres el lider y el de mas experiencia, que ejemplo tan chulo le has puesto a nuestra Seleccion~! LOOSER!

  • Ryan

    Cuanto te pagaron mi querido Rafael Marquez por regarla tan chido en la copa del mundo!

  • soccer fan

    hey i love soccer especially mexico because of RAFAEL MARQUEZ. he is so CUTE

  • vane

    solo quiero decirles que rafa es un chavo muy especial, que mexico se puede recuperar, no pierdan la fe. Rafa, tu puedes. te amo.

  • Maria

    Hola Rafael te deseo lo mejor en tu vida Papi!
    Te AMO

  • Karina

    Quetal Rafa…. Hayyy mi chulo!!! Fuiste un Heroe en el Juego contra Argentina… Hiciste increible con ese GOL!!!! Acuerdate que eres el mejor y que te queremos.. Muah!!!!

  • EDALI

    I THINK THAT MEXICO PLAYED REALLY GOOD TODAY VS ONE OF THE BEST TEAMS ARGENTINA.tHAnKS XOXOX MUCH RAFA 4 SCOREING A GOAL LOVE YA DUDE!!!BUT THIS ONE THING THAT I DON’T GET WHY THEY HAVE TO TALK BAD ABOUT {lavolpe }if mexico wins they still talk about him men peolpe r full of b.s. I think Lavolpe did really good choaching the team xo peolpe should shut there mouth.next wcup!!!! mexico #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Maria

    I just wanted to let u know that you are my favorite player and that I admire you so much! You are one of the greatest players ever. You inspire me a lot by everything you have accomplished and I know you have yet to accomplish so much more! Great things have yet to come! Although you did not win today against Argentina you guys deserved to win as much as them if not more! I am so proud of you and the team! You guys played a great game and gave it your all! VIVA MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Nancy

    Hey Rafa Marquez you are so so so cute! I love you with all my heart and I’m proud of all of you guys but especially for you for scoring a
    goal that was a really good one your the best keep it up take care I wish one day I can meet you but that’s impossible and one day we will win the world cup again don’t doubt that
    !VIVA MEXICO!APOYANDO A MEXICO HASTA LA MUERTE!

  • obe

    rafa, eres un ejemplo de lucha y superacion. Espero que mas futbolistas mexicanos vayan al extranjero y obtengan un buen nivel de juego al igual que lo hiciste tu. Eres un orgullo para el futbol nacional. Sigue asi, mucha gente tenemos fe en ti y en el futbol mexicano. tenemos mucho que trabajar para el proximo mundial. felicidades rafa!

  • Maria

    hi rafa te deseo lo mejor en tu vida. I’m so sorry that you’re team lost I still think that your the best player ever!We love you!:)

  • camille

    i think rafael marquez is a great soccer player and has alot of heart, he is going to go on to be bigger and better. i could not say enough but keep up the good work, u deserve the best…mucho besos!!!

  • Mayra Armenta

    …. OMG…..RAFA….. que puedo decir de mi RAFA….!!!!! ES EL MEJOR…SI EL MEJOR!!!!!! PUES SOLAMENTE TE QUIERO DECIR QUE EL PARTIDO QUE JUGARON EN CONTRA DE ARGENTINA ME GUSTO …… Y LUEGO ES GOLASO QUE METISTE….. PUES MAS…JJEEEJJ…. SOLA MENTE TE QUIERO DESIR QUE ERES UN ORGULLO PARA MEXICO Y TODOS LOS MEXICANOS DEL MUNDO!!! ME DA MUCHO GUSTO PORQUE HAC LLEGADO TAN LEGOS…. SIGUE PARA ADELANTE Y QUE DIOSITO TE BENDIGA A TI Y A TU FAMILIA!!!! TE DESEO LO MEJOR EN TU VIDA PROFECIONAL COMO TAMBIEN EN TU PERSONAL….. CUIDENSE….. !!!!! TE AMO!!!!! ERES EL MEJOR JUGADOR DEL MUNDO!!!!!!VIVA MEXICO….. Y TAMBIEN MICHOACAN ………. JEJJEEE……
    – lilarmenta
    -junio 28,2006
    -1:16AM
    ……..MUAH!!!!!!!!!!XOXOXOOOXO

  • sdfasd

    GO ARGENTINA!!!!!!!!!!! Marquez is not cute es muy feo ha ha ha ha

  • sdfasd

    I hope u no players don’t even read this

  • la_loka

    I love rafa marquez not just cuz he’s representing us Mexicans but he’s hella fine and he’s a really good player.

  • chucho

    Sarita ,Sarita como se ve que no sabes de futbol mejor no opines. Solo los grandes meten la mano ejemplo; Maradona cuando metio el gooooooooool con la mano. La historia hubiese sido otra si el albitro la hubiese marcado, costandole la tarjeta amarailla y a lo mejor la roja. Por eso te pido que no opines me da mas verguenza como te expresas de Rafa, si el como ‘ Hugo Sanchez ‘ son los dos idolos de MEXICO con titulos en Europa. Y disculpame por decirte esto pero eres como los demas mexicanos que vuelven a idolos de Mexico villanos. Otra cosa no fue a POLONIA fue a PORTUGAL. Y no lo regalo el penal simplemente intervino para que el de portugal no metiera el gol, sin quitarle credito a Oswaldo Sanchez.

    ‘Rafa Marquez’ el mejor defensa del mundo
    si Rafa marcara a los grandes en todos los juegos no hubiese; Hugos,Ronaldos,Ronaldihos,Maradonas,Peles, etc. indudablemente el mejor. Y arriba! Rqafael Marquez sigue dejando a los grandes delanteros pasando verguenzas

  • beto

    if usa would of been in the same group as mexico in the world cup i think mexico would of beat them 5 to 0

  • S.Marquez

    Does anyone know how to get in contact with these guys? Or at least post something on a site where they players/managers might actually read what’s written? You’re pobably gonna think I’m nuts, but I’m actually related to Rafael…close relation, not 5 cousins down the line. but our family in the US doesn’t have contact with those in Mexico/abroad. If you have any ideas, let me know. I’ll check this board every so often.

  • ROSAMARIA

    RAFAEL ERES EL BOMBON TAN LINDO QUE HA EXCISTIDO. TE ADMIRO MUCHISIMO, ACUERDATE QUE TUS FANS ESTAN CONTIGO HASTA EL FIN. I LOVE YOU

  • Nancy

    Ami tamlbien mu gusta rafa marquez y que VIVA MEXICO!

  • hugomichoacano

    NO CABE DUDA QUE RAFA EL EL MEJOR JUGADOR QUE MEXICO A DADO. ME SIENTO ORGULLOSO POR SER MEXICANO COMO EL Y TAMBIEN POR SER MICHOACANO
    PERSONAS COMO EL ES LO QUE NESECITA NUESTRO PAIS CON GANAS DE SUPERARSE SIN MIEDO A LO INCIERTO COMO LO ISO EL AL IRSE A FRANCIA,AL PRINCIPIO SOLO ESPERO QUE DIOS LE DE MUCHAS MAS VICTORIAS PORQUE EL SE LO MERECE. NO ES UN ARROGANTE COMO EL ESTUPIDO DE HUGO SANCHEZ. ES UNA PERSONA HUMILDE PERO CON MUCHO HORGULLO DE LA QUE A LOGRADO Y DE SER MEXICANO. ERES EL MEJOR RAFA

  • COSME GARCIA

    solo quiero decir que RAFA MARQUEZ es el mejor jugador del mundo.tambien creo que yo voy a ser el proximo RAFA MARQUEZ.BUEN GOL BUEY!

  • ELIZABETH PERALES

    To Rafael Marquez I was in the lobby of Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Mar on 08/05/2006, I called your name and you turned, butI was unable to take a picture of you or even huge you, but it was all worth it just to watch you walk by, you are a very attractive man and a wonderful soccer player My wish is to one day actually meet you and take a picture of you, your smile alone makes me smile and I love to watch you play, by the way nice header on the game against America.

  • ernesto

    merry me janet

  • merry me ernesto

    i luv u ernesto but im bettr at soccer than u!

  • secret

    hey iam from mexico and i just want to tell you that you pley awsome you are so fine that i wish i cuold merry you.4 real te amo para siempre i dremed with you the other day. i love you. i think that you should make a show in the united states and talk about your career and how you got to be here. i heard the other day that you and osbaldo sanches were the best soccer players right now in mexico. Mexico paara siempre.porqe no juegas para mexico. no te gustaria, en el futuro jugar para tu pais, yo pienso q atodo los mexicano les gustaria. te amo liz

  • Rasputin

    Rafa is a great player & I have oftened wondered why there are such a small number of Mexican players in Europe. Mexico has always had very good players. As a National Team they play great against top teams. Anyone who saw them play Argentina would have to agree on this point. Still when they play pathetic weak Kickball teams like Team USA they play poor & this is maybe due to having a weak team like USA throw them off their game.Still I think Mexico has some great players & I think more will end up playing in Europe. Siska Siska Blat Da Piska!

  • luis

    keep doing good, kick more free-kicks,
    arriva mexico!!!!

  • xochitl

    rafa marquez is the best player in the whole world i love you marry me

  • silvino gaucho

    rafa is a passion player and the best timer?

  • Anonymous

    rafa is the best player

  • Marcela

    Rafa Marquez es el mejor jugador de Mexico!!
    Todos los Mexicanos estamos muy orgullosos de ti. Eres un ejemplo para todos los jugadores Mexicanos aspirando llegar a jugar en Europa y ser un jugador de la gran calidad que tu eres. Viva Mexico y Rafa Marquez!! Te queremos mucho!

  • Anonymous

    rafa marquez eres el mejor en elmexico eres la atracio del football eres lo mmmmejor

  • Anonymous

    ronaldiño eres muy bueno en el barcelona no te vayas ronaldiño de el barcelona plese you are the best dont goooo to others sellecion

  • Isaac

    eres un ejemplo para mi sueño es ser como tu. haber cuando bienes a Cumming,Georgia

  • Stephanie

    Rafa you are the best defender in the world i hope to see him soon in the field. real love 4 Rafa Marquez!!!

  • Eriberto Vallejo

    Rafa Marquez is the best Mexican soccer player. I hope his knee injury heals soon so that he can play in the upcoming Copa America with the Mexican national team. Rafa keep up the good work.

  • Mabel

    Yeah! Rafa is again the Captain of the National Team. I’m soooo happy!

  • cindy vella

    RAFA YOU ARE THE PERFECT MAN IN THE WHOLE WORLD,AND THE BEST SOCCER PLAYER.PLEASE COME TO SAN DIEGO CA.

  • Erick Manriquez Hurtado from Zamora, Michoacan Mexico

    Rafael Marquez is the best of them all!

    COME TO BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS PLEASE!

  • Caritow

    RAFAAA TE AMOOOwwww. RAFA ES EL MEJOR DEFANSA DE TODO EL MUNDO. APARTE DE SER EL MEJOR… ESTA SUPER LINDO, KE DIGO LINDOO ESTA SUUPER GUAPOO. CHISPAS DE CHOCOLATE! NO SE SI ALGUN DIA TE LLEGUE A CONOCER, PERO YA SABES KE AKI TIENES ATU FAN NUMERO 1. TE AMO RAFA HERMOSO!

  • daysi

    ERES EL MEJOR RAFA!TE ♥

  • Viviana

    @Y N@ M@Z QUERi@ D3CiRT3 QU3 3ST@S Vi3N P3RO QU3 Vi3N S3Xii!!!!! LOV3 U CHOOW!!!

  • JEPASA

    well i think that rafael marquez is the best soccer player. PERIOD
    i love him to death and when i saw him in barcelona play against espanyol it was the best eventhough they didnt win!

  • Regent

    The last thing Europe needs is Mexicans. Europe already has enough problems with trash coming in from the Middle East. Europe needs to learn from the mistakes America has made.