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Who Is This Rafael Marquez Guy Anyways?

For those that have not yet heard, Mexican National Team Captain Rafael Marquez has been signed by the New York Red Bulls. He's been long rumored and will finally be announced by the team on Friday. No word on if the announcement will take place in Houston or at Red Bull arena but the contract is for three years with a fourth year as a club option. Each year he is set to make anywhere between $2.8 and 3 million making him one of the highest paid Designated Players in league history. He has been a member of FC Barcelona with our other major signing Thierry Henry since 2003 and has been considered on of the elite central defenders in the world. He also has the ability to play defensive midfield, a position the team desperately needs filled.

Marquez began his career with the Mexican team Atlas when he was 17. After playing in 77 games his contract was purchased by Monaco, who also had Thierry Henry under contract in 1999. In his first season with the club, he helped lead them to the French title. He remained with the team until 2003, despite receiving many offers from more prestigious teams. It was only until Barcelona signed him for 5million Euro that he made the made the switch.

It was at Barcelona that he rose to prominence within the International Soccer Community. In his first season he helped the team finish in second in La Liga. The following year he was moved from center back to defensive midfield due to injuries the team suffered. He was a one of the important pieces that helped the team win its 17th league title in 2005. Injuries kept him off the field for much of the following season but he was instrumental in the team winning the Champions League final in 2006. He suffered injuries in the subsequent seasons and didn't see much time as his role was diminished.

With the Mexican National Team, he's been a mainstay in the backfield. The best way to describe his career is tumultuous, with him being both a national hero and a villain. He was the lone goal scorer in Mexico's four appearances at the 2006 World Cup. He also was red carded after headbutting Cobi Jones in the final minutes of the match against the US Mens National Team at the 2002 World Cup. It is for this reason that there are some Red Bulls fans who are not too excited about Marquez joining the team.

After the jump I'll talk about his playing style and include a highlight video....

Rafa brings a very aggressive game to the MLS. He's not afraid to take chances which will translate very well to the physical style of the MLS. He also has an ability to control the ball which is something the team needs help with after seeing how poorly they played against Columbus. I expect him to anchor our midfield as I don't believe Hans Backe would want to break up the defensive pairing of Carlos Mendes and Tim Ream who have been playing great soccer this season.

The expected line up is as follows:

Bouna Coundoul - GK

Chris Albright - D

Danleigh Borman - D

Tim Ream - D

Carlos Mendes - D

Rafael Marquez - DM

Dane Richards - M

Joel Lindpere - M

Macoumba Kandji - CAM

Thierry Henry - F

Juan Pablo Angel - F

Rafa Marquez [HD] (via GAEL26)