20 years later, Rafa Marquez returns to Atlas to finish where he started

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Rafa Marquez is going home to Atlas, the club for which he made his professional debut nearly 20 years ago as a 17-year-old product of the club’s youth academy, the Guadalajara-based Liga MX club announced on Sunday.

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After a year-and-a-half tour in Italy with Serie A’s Hellas Verona, for whom he signed following a complete career renaissance at the 2014 World Cup, Marquez’s legendary career, which has seen him play for six clubs in five countries — winning two UEFA Champions League and four La Liga titles at Barcelona; one Ligue 1 title at Monaco; and a pair of half-season titles at Leon — is nearing the inevitable: the end.

At the 2014 World Cup, Marquez famously became the first player in history to captain his country at four different World Cups.

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Now back in Mexico, Marquez joins a struggling side which finished 16th of 18 teams in the just-completed Apertura season. Atlas, who finished in the bottom-third of the league in terms of goals conceded this fall, now find themselves in danger of being relegated with another poor showing in the upcoming Clausura.