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Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis

December 18, 2012
Marquez should give back his millions; Juninho great on free kicks, can he take MLS' physical game?

Rafa Marquez earned more than $10 million during his tenure with the Red Bulls.
Rafa Marquez earned more than $10 million during his tenure with the Red Bulls.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

So many opinions, so little time to share them with the rest of the world.

I've got a couple of share with you on this gloomy Tuesday morning in New York, about the latest new Red Bulls, Juninho Pernambucano, and the latest new former Red Bull, Rafa Marquez.

Marquez signed with Leon of the Mexican First Division after the Red Bulls released him last week.

According to writer, producer and broadcaster Juan Arango, who works for GolTV, Marquez said Major League Soccer was still "an amateur tournament" with a system and decision making process that he never adapted to.



There are many things the league can improve on, but MLS is not amateur.

If the league is an amateur tournament, why then did Marquez underachieve so often?

If the league is amateur, why did not Marquez raise the level of play?

If the league is amateur, why did Marquez become the poster child for horrible designated player signings?

And if the league is amateur, then Marquez should have been content to play for free and not earn $4.6 million a year. By my calculations, Marquez pocketed more than $10 million from the Red Bulls during his 2 1/2-year reign of error. In the spirit of the holiday season, here's an idea for the Mexican National Team captain: put your money where your mouth is (well, your foot is usually inside of it it) and give back some of that money to the league or charity.

What a piece of work Marquez is. I could use another word there, but this a PG website.

Marquez's latest remarks is just another sad denouement of what has been a productive career, a career that started to slide when he joined the Red Bulls in 2010.

Juninho was signed by the Red Bulls on Monday. A great specialist in turning dead balls into live goals, Juninho hopefully will revive the Red Bulls' abysmal free kick game. I always pitied the poor fans sitting behind a goal when Marquez launched one of his patented off-target free kicks seemingly into the stands.

I have seen videos of Juninho and he can become the Red Bulls' version of David Beckham.

With the Brazilian midfielder turning 38 on Jan. 30, I have to question whether he will be able to take the physical nature of the league. Now, I know that the Brazilian league isn't just the beautiful game and hard knocks are part of the game there.

As many foreign players have come to realize, MLS is a different creature than just about every league I the world. Long-distance travel , itís physical nature and an occasional artificial turf field can take a wear and tear on a player.

To keep playing at such an ancient age for soccer says a ton about Juninho's fitness.

Guess we'll find out soon enough how good it will be for MLS.
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