He may be 35-years-old but centre-back Rafael Marquez remains an important leader for Mexico ahead of the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil.

The former Barcelona player will be appearing in his fourth World Cup for the Aztecs and coach Miguel Herrera says his presence is of huge benefit to the other members of the squad.

"Bringing Rafael Marquez along has had an important impact on the lads, he's someone his team-mates have a lot of respect for, he's a natural leader," Herrera said.

Two years ago, Marquez's career seemed to be winding down after ten years and 120 caps as his country's captain. He had left Barça to join New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2010, while in 2012 he was discarded from the Mexico set-up.

Bringing Rafael Marquez along has had an important impact on the lads, he's someone his team-mates have a lot of respect for, he's a natural leader.

Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera

But a move to Mexican giants Leon in 2013 helped resurrect both his club and international career as he helped the side to the last two Mexican titles. And now he is set to extend his record 12 World Cup appearances for his country.

"Rafa Marquez is a marshal, a commander in chief, he's the most intelligent, most lucid, most technical (of the players)," former Mexico striker Luis Garcia said.

Marquez's comeback to the Mexico fold was much needed as the team was on the brink of failing to qualify for the World Cup, for the first time since being banned from the 1990 edition for using over-aged players in qualification for the 1989 World Youth Championships, as they underwent a disastrous CONCACAF qualification phase.

They needed two injury-time goals by the USA in their 3-2 win at Panama to avoid being knocked out of the competition.

But that ensured they would play New Zealand in a play-off to reach the finals, with Mexico finding their form to trounce the All Whites 9-3 on aggregate.