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Rafael Marquez

2010-05-13 17:11
Age: 30
Position: Defender
Club: Barcelona

Márquez has been one of the Mexican national football team's most important players. He has played various tournament's with the Mexican team, winning the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Márquez started all four of Mexico's games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, where he was given the Captain's Armband by then coach Javier Aguirre despite his young age of 23.

Despite a strong performance during the group stage of the tournament, he received a red card during Mexico's second round 2-0 loss to the United States for a deliberate midair head butt on Cobi Jones in the final minutes of the match. Márquez was an integral part of Mexico's subsequent World Cup qualification campaign and was selected by Argentine coach Ricardo Lavolpe for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Márquez played in all of four of Mexico's opening round matches, and scored the lone Mexican goal in a 2-1 loss to Argentina in the second round off a Pável Pardo free kick which was headed to the far post by Mario Méndez, allowing an unmarked Márquez to strike the ball into the back of the net.

The winner was scored by Maxi Rodriguez in extra time after Hernan Crespo had equalised for Argentina. Since Mexico's second round exit, he has spoken out about the need to encourage future Mexican football players to play in Europe to increase the competitiveness of the team.

Former Mexican coach Hugo Sánchez asked Márquez to participate in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the 2007 Copa America. Rafael joined up with the team Mexico for the Gold Cup's championship game against the United States after the conclusion of La Liga 2006-07; Rafa started the match, a game that Mexico lost 2-1.

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