December 13, 2012
Red Bulls release Marquez in mutual agreement
By Michael Lewis
|Rafa Marquez has left the Red Bulls.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Red Bulls fans won't have Rafa Marquez to use as their personal piñata any more.
In a move that will make many fans rejoice, the Red Bulls announced on Thursday morning they had come to a mutual release agreement with the Mexican international defender and midfielder.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Major League Soccer team, although most likely the Red Bulls bought out Marquez's contract. He earned $4.6 million a year.
The deal will allow the 33-year-old Marquez to sign with another team. He is negotiating a contract with Leon in the Mexican First Division, a deal that could be completed as early as today.
“This decision has been made in the best interests of both parties concerned,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement. “Rafa has accomplished a great deal during his career and is a top quality player. We want to thank him for his service to the Red Bulls and wish him the best of luck in the next stage of his career.”
Marquez was a maor disappointment during his 2-1/2 year tenure with the club, failing to play up to expectations and his reputation. His play ranged from very good to spotty. He was injured way too many times, forcing him to miss blocks of games and he took ill-advised red cards, resulting in multi=-game suspensions.
He made headlines near the end of last season when he criticized former central defender partner Tim Ream for his "infantile" play.
The former Barcelona player was one of the highest paid players in the league, earning $4.6 million a year.
However, his critics claims he rarely earned that money.
Marquez, who joined the Red Bulls from Barcelona in August, 2010, played sporadically for the Red Bulls last season, seeing time in 15 games, due to injuries and suspensions.
He finished the 2011 and 2012 seasons incurring red cards in his final playoff game, a first in the 17-year history of the MLS. He was slapped with a three-game suspension for throwing the ball at the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan after a 1-0 home playoff loss in 2011.
Marquez' departure will allow the Red Bulls to look for a third DP to go along with striker and captain Thierry Henry and midfielder Tim Cahill.
He signed with New York on Aug. 2, 2010 as a Designated Player, joining the team from Barcelona.
Marquez appeared in 44 regular season games (42 starts) and recorded one goal and nine assists. In 2012, he saw time in 15 matches and recorded three assists. He started in six playoff games.