Rafa Marquez elected to train in his old stomping grounds of Barcelona prior to the start of the Red Bulls 2012 campaign. The intention, he said, was to be fully fit for the start (and duration) of the season with the end goal of (perhaps) reentering the Mexican National Team picture.
That didn’t come to fruition.
Now, Marquez has confirmed rumored reports linking him to his first professional club, Atlas de Guadelajara. The former Mexican captain told gathered media at a Gala press conference for his foundation his desire for an offseason loan with the hopes, once more, of improving his club fortunes, thus paving the way towards Brazil 2014.
“My intention during the MLS offseason is to stay active and my priority is to come to play for Atlas,” Marquez said. “Next year will be a competitive season for me in Red Bull, which is my last season, and I will try to obtain a title and (get called up) for the Mexican National Team.”
Of course, this competitive season with the Red Bulls ended on another sour note for Marquez. For the second consecutive year, an ill-advised red card in a crucial playoff series contributed to the Red Bulls early exit from the playoffs. Much like season’s past, the Mexican’s year was also cut short by injuries and disciplinary issues, limiting Marquez to 15 total appearances in 34 matches (tallying all of 3 assists).
His absence follows a disturbing pattern of suspensions, injuries and absences that have haunted him since his arrival to the team.
Marquez sought a similar offseason loan last year. Atlas and a plethora of Brazilian clubs inquired about obtaining his services but then General Manager Erik Soler opposed such a move. The current change in leadership and a more positive relationship with Red Bull General Manager Jerome de Bontin may make his long wanted dream a reality.
With or without the loan, one thing you can clearly draw from his statement is this; Rafa Marquez intends to return to New York and finish out his contract – regardless of his shambolic history with the team.