Former Red Bull Rafa Marquez ‘regrets’ decision to play in U.S.

Rafa Marquez unveiling

New York Red Bull fans are not the only ones left regretful of the union between their club and Rafa Marquez.

In a revealing interview with ESPN Deportes Magazine, ‘El Kaiser’ looks back at the past four years of his career and admits that his move to the Red Bulls was a “bad choice.”

“Maybe I was a bit ahead of myself choosing to go to the United States,” Marquez says. “It was an error on my part because I thought my career was on the downswing, and then I realized I was mistaken because I still had much to give in the competitive arena.”

While that may be the case, he had little to offer in the competitive realm of MLS. His career in New York was marred by injuries and questionable play, with moments of brilliance giving fans hope that the Rafa Marquez of Barcelona would one day show the same drive in a Red Bull uniform.

That never came to fruition. Instead, costly fouls, a prickly temperament and an infamous tirade over the poor level of his teammates led the Mexican defender to become the Red Bulls’ black sheep.

Looking back, Marquez acknowledges that he came to the Red Bulls for all the wrong reasons and suffered the consequences for that decision in his short two year stay.

“Honestly, at that time, my priority was the chance to be in New York and to enjoy that opportunity, even if the level of football in MLS was much lower than that of La Liga in Spain,” he explains. “The problem was that my character didn’t permit me [to enjoy it] because playing there was not something I genuinely enjoyed.

“I knew this meant going down a few steps in the competitive realm, but, on the other hand, I wanted to enjoy more time with my family.

“I admit, it was a bad choice.”

In making that choice, Marquez put aside greater offers to play within Europe — including a tempting chance to man the backline in Italy.

“I do regret not having continued my career in Europe,” he says. “Furthermore, I had big offers, the biggest from Juventus, that was very appetizing, but in the end, I decided to go to the United States.”

While his time with the New York Red Bulls failed on nearly all levels, Marquez has since resurrected his career with Leon in Liga MX. ‘El Kaiser’ has played a major role in the club’s 2013 Apertura Championship victory and their 2014 Clausura winning tournament as well.

His actions within the domestic league have not only earned him back a spot within the Mexican National team, but he has also taken back the captain’s armband as he looks towards a rare fourth World Cup campaign.

That wouldn’t have happened, he says, if he stayed in the States.

“If I wanted to be a conformist, I could have stayed there the extra year that I had on my contract,” he admits, “but I was going to play very little and I didn’t want to do that.

“All of that is part of an experience that helped me get to know myself better.”