Let’s run through a quick checklist of what we know for sure about Rafa Marquez, the former Red Bulls defender-midfielder who was seemingly well past his international playing days:
He has proven at times to be a selfish figure. It would not be a stretch to say he was at times a divisive figure, even for El Tri.
At 34 years old, he just doesn’t seem up for the running required of league matches, much less what’s needed at international level. At club level, he’s smart enough to be efficient with his movement, although lack of tracking from midfield was sometimes a huge issue as he closed his contentious days at Red Bull Arena.
He has reached the milepost 100th cap for Mexico, having done so back in March of 2011, so there’s nothing ceremonially to gain from adding the man for yet another match with El Tri.
So why would he be included in the team for two of the most important World Cup qualifiers Mexico has played in decades? (Seriously, no exaggeration there whatsoever. Mexico needs points from the remaining pair of qualifiers or it will probably miss its first World Cup since 1990.)
There is a chance, at least, that this is going to happen, that he will find his way onto Mexico’s next roster.
Marquez has not been called for the massive matches ahead – not just yet, at least – but rather for next week’s training camp. So the news behind the news here is that the camp is just for Mexican-based players; It will be harder for all the camp participants to make the World Cup qualifier list once European-based men are folded in.
Marquez has played well recently for Leon, but this still looks like a stretch, a move of desperation from new manager Victor Manuel Vucetich, who will hold the special training camp next week as extra prep ahead of El Tri’s high-pressure matches next month.
Mexico hosts Panama on Oct. 11 at Estadio Azteca, where the team has yet to win in five previous World Cup qualifiers during the final round of CONCACAF action. The Vucetich’s team travels to Costa Rica for an Oct. 15 match.
Mexico is tied for fourth with Panama (but behind in goal difference) in the six-team CONCACAF final round.
Bottom line here: You really have to wonder if the massive issues for El Tri just get better or worse?