Rafael Marquez is the most experienced footballer on the team. Not only has he played longer, but he has done it with first-class clubs. Now, the Mexico captain has one last shot to try to help El Tri make history in the World Cup.
Marquez left Atlas de Guadalajara three years after his debut to join Ligue 1 club Monaco. It was all a casualty, since the scouts were actually looking at a Chilean centre-back, Pablo Contreras, at the 1999 Copa America—ultimately, they signed both footballers.
The Kaiser quickly established himself as a smart and tough player. He won the Ligue 1 title in his first season and in 2011 was named best defender of the league. Two years later, Barcelona bought him.
With the Blaugrana, Marquez won it all and became a world-known footballer. He immediately grabbed the starting position with Mexico and has never let it go.
He brings a lot to the pitch, for starters his experience. He knows how to keep the ball until his team-mates go back to their positions.
Distribution is not a problem either; he can put a 60-yard pass in the boots of any player, no sweat. His intelligence and vision help him to open spaces, hence he is able to create plays right from the back line.
Throughout the years, he has become a good leader, who organizes the rest of the defenders and talks constantly with the goalkeeper.
In the attacking zone, Marquez becomes quite the surprise. He has a fantastic aerial game and a powerful long-distance shot.
It is true that he has lost his temper and put the team in distress in the past; however, no other Mexican defender has the mix of skills and experience that Marquez has.
There will be no surprises in Brazil. El Tri will play with their usual 5-3-2, and this means that Hector Moreno and Diego Reyes will be next to the Kaiser.
Moreno has played in Europe since 2008 and has proved to be up for the challenge. However, Reyes, who is also abroad and has a lot of talent, lacks experience.
How Important Is Rafael Marquez to Mexico's World Cup Quest
The midfield is another line that may give Mexico a hard time. Since there is only one central midfielder, and the left and right midfielders join the attack on a regular basis, the defense needs to hold off the threats from the rivals.
Brazil 2014 will not be the exception. El Tri will face players of the likes of Neymar, Fred, Samuel Eto'o and Mario Mandzukic. That is why Marquez has to be a key player for Mexico.
This will be the last World Cup for the Leon defender, and with that in mind, he has to give his best and must promote structure and leadership on and off the pitch.
All data provided by ESPNFC.com, unless otherwise noted.