As I am now officially a PAISA of my adopted home country Mexico, received Mexican citizenship on June 5 this year . . .
Today, June 6th, Rafa is at 1 year and 26 days of making world soccer history
This was the first time since 1982 that Germany have lost their opening game. It was also just their second defeat in World Cup group play in the last 28 years.
Mexico played the best half of football by any team in the World Cup so far, completely refusing to be overawed by Germany and deservedly going in 1-0 up at half-time through a superb goal from 22-year-old Hirving Lozano.
The Mexican earthquake authority reported celebrations of that goal measured as seismic activity in Mexico City.
The defending champions came roaring back in the second half and eventually fired off 26 shots at goal, but the Mexicans – with veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa exceptional – held firm to claim a famous victory.
When Rafa Marquez came on for Mexico in the 74th minute and took the captain’s armband, he became the first player to appear in five World Cups and captain his nation in each of them.
MEXICO veteran Rafael Marquez is set to join an elite club of footballers when he plays in his fifth World Cup, but he heads to Russia tarnished by a drug trafficking investigation.
Marquez, who made his World Cup debut in South Korea and Japan in 2002, will join Gianluigi Buffon of Italy, Lothar Matthaus of Germany and fellow Mexican Antonio Carbajal as the only players to have appeared in five editions of the tournament.
But instead of riding off tranquilly into the sunset, the 39-year-old will arrive in Russia amid legal woes and personal turbulence.
Last August, the US Treasury Department accused the former Barcelona player of being a “front person” for a drug trafficking group based in the Mexican city of Guadalajara.
With his US visa cancelled and his Mexican bank accounts frozen, Marquez took a nearly three-month break from football to focus on his legal defence.
After winning a court decision unfreezing some of his bank accounts, he returned to the pitch.
But the cloud of the ongoing investigation is still hanging over the defensive midfielder.
The Mexican national team’s sponsors, including Coca-Cola, have asked not to be associated with him, and he has been training for the World Cup in an unmarked jersey.
Still, coach Juan Carlos Osorio says Marquez, who recently retired from Guadalajara club Atlas, is an invaluable leader.
“Off the pitch, there’s no debate, he’s the footballer who can bring the most to this team,” he said in announcing his squad.
Marquez has worn the captain’s armband in all four of his World Cups – a record – and is an alternate captain this year.
Osorio denied he was taking him along as a bench-warmer to boost him to the five World Cup club.
“This was strictly about sporting criteria,” he said.
“The subject of values is separate. I’m not going to condemn the players. It’s a personal and free decision of how they can use their time, which was agreed upon a week before the trip [to Denmark].”
Team captain Rafa Marquez approached players at the team hotel before Tuesday’s practice to address their responsibilities as role models as members of the national the team, according to John Sutcliffe of ESPN.
fter being named in Mexico’s squad for the World Cup on Monday, Rafael Márquez will have the opportunity to become just the third player after Germany’s Lothar Matthaus and fellow Mexican Antonio Carbajal to appear in five World Cups.
Yet Márquez belongs to an even more select club as the only player heading to Russia who has been sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department for alleged ties to the drug trafficking trade. Márquez has not been charged with a crime and strenuously denies any involvement.
When his name first appeared among 21 Mexican nationals accused of assisting drugs lord Raul Flores Hernande\\
–very NOBLE and possible least red/yellow cards? (CHECK!!)
In addition to being Mexico’s talisman for over two decades, Marquez earned his reputation during a seven-year run with Barcelona, winning two Champions League titles and eventually appearing in more matches than any non-European player for the La Liga giants. (That record has since been broken by Leo Messi.)
Marquez will be. That will make him the third player in history after Lothar Matthaus and Antonio Carbajal to play in five World Cups, but the first-ever to captain his country in all five of them — he already holds the record of having done so in four. Marquez, who is popularly known as El Kaiser or the Emperor back home, has expressed his desire for a dream farewell in Russia for some time now but wasn’t picked in the national squad after he appeared in the Confederations Cup last year in the wake of the drug-trafficking allegations. His inclusion in the preliminary Mexican squad for the World Cup was met with overwhelming excitement from everyone including coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who insisted that Marquez’s “experience and leadership” will be great assets for his team. Striker Carlos Vela in fact even volunteered to give up his own spot in the squad for Marquez to go to Russia. El Tri have been extremely consistent in making the round of 16 since 1990 but painfully regular, too, in not making it past that stage.