Legendary Mexican center half Rafael Marquez doesn’t really fit the bill of standing 5 foot nothin’, weighing 100 and nothin’ and possessing barely a speck of athletic ability, but there’s something decidedly Rudy about Carlos Vela’s latest quotes regarding Marquez’s possible World Cup inclusion.
Speaking after LAFC’s 2-0 win over Minnesota United on Wednesday, Vela made it clear where he stands with regards to the former Atlas defender's international standing.
“About Rafa Marquez, I don’t think there are enough words to describe what he represents to all Mexican players,” Vela said. “He has been and is an example for everyone, and if we have to take him by carrying him we’ll do it so he’s not missing. If I have to give him my spot, I’d let him have it.
"I think he deserves everything to close out his great career in a brilliant way and hopefully, like I said, it’s not in my hands whether or not I go or whether he goes, but if he goes he’ll surely be happy and the group will be too because we respect him a lot and he’s a person who always supports the team, even if it’s not on the field being with us will be important and he gives leadership that is unmatched in Mexican soccer because he’s been around and played with the best players in the world and not just anybody has done that and I think that can help everybody.”
Here’s a live look-in at Juan Carlos Osorio’s office at federation headquarters in Mexico City. I know these guys look like Notre Dame football players from another time, but the television just does strange things to your appearance.
Marquez made eight appearances for Atlas during the Clausura as the club struggled to a 15th-place finish. On April 20, he played his final club match and was given a proper send-off at the Estadio Jalisco.
The defender hasn’t appeared for Mexico since the 2017 Confederations Cup, but he still played a vital role for El Tri in World Cup qualifying — including scoring the game-winning goal against the U.S. in Columbus back on November 11, 2016.
Marquez has captained Mexico at four World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014), becoming to first player of any team to ever do so. The defender played for Monaco, Barcelona, NYRB, Leon, Hellas Verona and Atlas throughout his career.