The New York Red Bulls officially cut ties with Mexican superstar Rafa Marquez today, ending the player’s stormy two-and-a-quarter seasons with the MLS club.
We wondered about Marquez’s apparent character issues when New York signed him back in August 2010, and sure enough, the ones we, and millions of U.S. fans, had witnessed were not an aberration. The guy has a raging chemical fire where his sense of judgment and perspective should be. We’ve seen it time and time again.
A brief review:
• 2002 World Cup: He head-butts and kicks Cobi Jones, leaving the U.S. midfielder flat on the ground and drawing a straight red.
• In a Feb 2009 World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Marquez went studs-up into U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, drawing another red.
• Following New York’s 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake in Sept 2011, Marquez—an eight-year veteran of Barcelona and the captain of Mexico’s national team—threw his less experienced teammates under the bus, saying he played as well as he could but, “I don’t have, unfortunately, [other] defenders on my level that can help me out.”
• He didn’t stop there, either. Asked about fellow center back Tim Ream, Marquez said, “Tim is still a young player with a lot to learn. He still has quite a lot to learn, and well, he has committed errors that are very infantile and cost us goals.” Coach Hans Backe suspended Marquez for one game for the outburst.
• Later that season, following a tense, 1-0 loss to Los Angeles in the first round of the MLS playoffs, Marquez chucked the game ball at Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan, sparking a bench-clearing fracas and getting himself suspended for the crucial second leg. Which New York lost.
Here’s the clip:
• In an April 2012 game against San Jose, Marquez bear-hugged Earthquakes winger Shea Salinas on a corner kick and slammed him to the ground, breaking the midfielder’s clavicle and drawing a three-game suspension.
See it here:
• In the first leg of this season’s Eastern Conference semifinal against D.C., Marquez launched a halftime verbal assault on Backe after the coach replaced him with Roy Miller.
• The capper: In the second leg of that series, just minutes after New York gained a man advantage due to D.C. keeper Bill Hamid’s red card, Marquez gave it back, picking up his second yellow, for a reckless challenge on Chris Pontius. D.C. would go on to win the game 1-0 with an 88th-minute goal.
Marquez finished each of his last two MLS seasons with red cards.