Rafael Márquez is ready to wear the Club León jersey next year. After three seasons with MLS club Red Bulls, the Mexican international never could get to the level he had when he played for Barcelona.
It was not a secret that Márquez had the intention to go back to Mexico. Last month, it was reported that he wanted an Atlas loan for the offseason.
But what went wrong with Rafa while playing in the United States? Let's find out...
His frustration on the pitch was obvious. In September 2011, after losing to Salt Lake, Rafa blamed his teammates for their poor game instead of accepting his own.
A month later, he threw the ball straight to Landon Donovan's legs, which resulted in a fight.
When you have a player like Rafael Márquez—who, by the way, has a 4.6 million-dollar contract—you expect to have the best performances in every match.
His resume is more than impressive: four La Liga titles, two UEFA Champions League trophies, three Supercups of Spain, one Copa del Rey, one UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA World Club Cup.
However, he never met the level he had with Barcelona, and that meant disappointment from the staff, the fans and the media.
Rafa's career in the MLS can be summed up as one foul after another. Instead of hitting the news with superb performances, Márquez was in the eye of the storm because of his indiscipline.
Rafael has always been a tough defender, but after his time with Barça, his behavior worsened.
The Mexican had 15 fouls in his first season (two yellow cards), 28 in 2011 (five bookings and once sent off) and 17 in his last campaign (three warnings and a red card).
Rafael Márquez's salary was the second-highest in Major League Soccer: 4.6 million dollars. However, he hardly ever played.
Since his arrival to Red Bulls in 2010, the Mexican only played 35 games out of 73 possible. Between injuries and indiscipline, Rafa was one of the most absent footballers in the league.
Yes, Rafael was way too experienced for a league that has started to flourish in the recent years, and that is taking the right steps into the correct direction.
He won everything with Barcelona; how can you top that? Márquez was so used to another way of playing and to a more structured club that it was frustrating at times.