Rafael Márquez (born February 13, 1979 in Zamora,
Michoacán, Mexico) is a Mexican football player, who currently
plays for FC Barcelona of the Spanish La Liga. His most usual
demarcations are central defender and defensive midfielder.
Marquez began his career with Mexican club Atlas de Guadalajara,
for whom he debuted in 1996 at only 17 years old. Marquez rose
to prominence while with Atlas, making 77 appearances for the
team, and debuting for the Mexican national team, before moving
on in 1999. In that year, French club Monaco purchased Marquez
for 6 million Euros. Marquez was an immediate success with
Monaco, helping lead the team to the French title in his first
season with the club. Despite pressures from larger clubs,
Marquez would remain with the club until 2003, when Barcelona
purchased him for 5 million Euros. In his first season with
Barca, Marquez appeared 21 times, helping the team to a second
place finish in La Liga. During his second season he was moved
from his typical position as a central defender to the defensive
mid-field, due to injuries to players Motta, Edmilson and Gerard.
He completed a great season, being one of the main players that
helped Barcelona win its 17th Spanish League on May 14th, 2005
after a 1-1 tie with Levante.
Since his debut February 5, 1997, Marquez has been one of the
Mexican national team's most important players. He started all
four of the team's games in the 2002 World Cup, and has been an
integral part of two World Cup Qualifying campaigns.