November 9, 2011
WILL MARQUEZ RETURN?
Backe says he will, but defender-midfielder talks about possible return to Mexico
MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- The Red Bulls head to an uncertain offseason after spending much of the 2011 preseason talking about vying for the Supporters Shield and the MLS Cup. Instead, what followed was a season head coach Hans Backe called the “messiest” in his 32-year coaching career.
|Rafa Marquez may leave the Red Bulls for a Mexican club for the 2012 season.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
At the center of the offseason concern is what to do with Rafa Marquez, a player who earned a team suspension for a postgame tirade after a 3-1 home loss in September to Real Salt Lake, making him a villain among Red Bulls fans. Two weeks ago, Marquez earned a red card in a melee following a 1-0 loss in the first leg of the playoff series with Los Angeles. He was given a three-game suspension by the league, two games of which will carry over into the regular season.
That is, assuming, that Marquez returns.
Backe originally stated to the media on Tuesday that the designated player would return, before he was informed of statements from Marquez that were made on Monday about a possible return to Mexico. Marquez’s statements were made to the Mexican media and he has not spoken to the English press since mid-September, following his critical comments after a 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. More than a dozen interview requests by the English media, including the New York Daily News, the New York Post, MLSsoccer.com and this site have all gone unfulfilled.
Apparently Marquez is not only ignoring the English media and going against the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, in a way it appears that he is also mum towards his own coach.
“I haven’t heard anything; next week we will sit down with every player individually and go through this year and look for the future. We will have a meeting with him too,” Backe said.
The Red Bulls head coach did lament Marquez frequently missing matches while away captaining Mexico, calling Thierry Henry and Marquez “one and a half DP.”