Mexican captain and two-time UEFA Champions League winning defender Rafael Marquez signed a multi-year deal on Monday with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, the team announced.
Marquez was released two days earlier by the Spanish club and joins another former Barcelona star and former French captain Thierry Henry and Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel as the Red Bulls designated players, ones whose salaries are exempt from the MLS's rigid salary cap.
"I'm excited to be joining the Red Bulls," Marquez said. "Despite having the opportunity to fulfil my contract with Barcelona, coming to New York and playing in Major League Soccer was a chance that I could not refuse. I'm completely committed to doing my very best to help the Red Bulls in the play-off push this year and compete for championships in the years to come."
Marquez, 31, has 94 caps for Mexico and scored in the opening match of this year's FIFA World Cup™ to allow Mexico to escape with a 1-1 draw against hosts South Africa.
"Rafael has shown on the club and international level that he is one of the world's top players," Red Bulls global soccer chief Dietmar Beiersdorfer said. "He has been a winner at all levels and illustrated that he is a leader both on and off the field."
Marquez spent the past seven seasons at Barcelona, where he helped the Catalan giants claim La Liga crowns in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 and the Champions League in 2006 and 2009. He also played for Monaco from 1999-2003 after starting his pro career at Mexican club Atlas in 1996 aged 17.