Red Bull New York has announced the signing of Mexico National Team Captain Rafael Márquez as the club’s third designated player. Márquez signed with the MLS side on a four year deal worth $25 million, as reported by ESPN Deportes reporter John Sutcliffe.
“I am excited to be joining the Red Bulls,” Márquez said. “Despite having the opportunity to fulfill my contract with Barcelona, coming to New York and playing in Major League Soccer was a chance that I could not refuse. I am completely committed to doing my very best to help the Red Bulls in their playoff push this year and compete for championships in the years to come.”
Márquez and his former club FC Barcelona came to an agreement to terminate the defender’s contract with the Catalan side over the weekend, a deal which would have kept Márquez in a Barcelona shirt till 2012. FC Barcelona held a sendoff ceremony for the Mexican captain on Saturday, July 31, 2010 at Camp Nou.
While at FC Barcelona, Márquez won two UEFA Champions League Cups, four League titles, one FIFA Club World Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Spanish Cup, three Spanish Super Cups and three Catalan Cups. Márquez played a total of 242 games for the Spanish giants and scored 13 goals, most of which were from free kicks and corners as is his specialty.
In an interview with Sandra Sarmiento of FCBarcelona.com Márquez stated “I have completed a cycle with Barcelona and seven years is a long time. I have won everything and now I want to play regularly and have more minutes. I talked with Pep and he has other priorities and I am ambitious and do not want to sit on the bench or in the stand watching games. That is why I have left.”
Previously to playing in Spain the Mexican had a four year stint in France with AS Monaco from 1999-2003. Marquez helped the French club win the League title in his first season and was named the Ligue 1 Best Defender in 2000 before leading them to a French Cup and Supercup.
Márquez began his professional career at Atlas of the Mexican First Division. At 14, he went for a trial with the Atlas youth teams and was one of only two boys chosen out of one hundred. He made his debut in the Mexican First Division when he was just 17 years old and quickly cemented his place in the starting eleven. In 1999, at 20 years old, he led Atlas to the final of the Mexican Summer Tournament, where they lost on penalties against Toluca.
Internationally Márquez has captained Mexico since 2002 and has tallied 94 appearances. His trophy cabinet includes the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The move is just another blockbuster from the wealthy New York team in what club executives hope is a dangerous trifecta as Márquez teams up with recent DP signing Thierry Henry and the club’s first DP Juan Pablo Angel.
Márquez is familiar with Thierry Henry as both were teammates at FC Barcelona. Henry, of course, recently signed with New York in a departure from FC Barcelona similar to Márquez ’s. Juan Pablo Angel is arguably the most successful Designated Player in Major League Soccer to date as he is New York’s all-time top goal scorer, completing the feat in his first three years with the club, and led RBNY to the 2008 MLS Cup Final.
Although Henry and Angel make up in what is already regarded as the League’s most dangerous duo, the Red Bulls have struggled defensively. The Márquez signing is expected to better the New York defense and make New York an obvious contender for the MLS Cup.
Red Bull New York will hold a press conference on Tueday, Aug. 3, 2010 at Red Bull Arena to introduce Márquez to members of the media at 1:15 p.m. ET.