Sunday 22 July 2018, 10:54

Marquez hangs up his boots

  • Rafael Marquez announces retirement

  • Mexico defender played at five World Cup tournaments

  • Marquez: "22 years in which I have felt very satisfied"​

Rafael Marquez, one of only three players to play at five FIFA World Cup™ tournaments, has announced his retirement.

The Mexico defender, whose career spanned a staggering 22 seasons, took to social media to announce calling time on his career.

“They have been 22 years in which I have felt very satisfied, having made many sacrifices, efforts, mistakes, wise choices and, as a result of them, having caused sadness, sometimes disappointment, but mainly, many joy,” Marquez, who was last at Mexican side Club Atlas, said in the message.

“I want to thank all fans who have shown me their affection over the years. They are and will keep being my incentive to keep giving my best, whatever I do and wherever I am."

At Russia 2018, Marquez became just the third person to play at five World Cups, following in the footsteps of Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Carbajal and 1990 World Cup winner Lothar Matthaus.

Rafael Marquez's five World Cups:

  • Korea/Japan 2002

  • ​Germany 2006

  • South Africa 2010

  • Brazil 2014

Having made his senior El Tri debut in 1997, Marquez recorded his first appearance at the global finals in 2002, playing in five consecutive tournaments with his final bow coming in Mexico’s Round of 16 defeat against Brazil at Russia 2018.

“It is a very special day for me, after losing my father and how hard it’s been for me to get to this point,” the 39-year-old said after coming off the bench in Mexico's famous win over Germany in Russia 2018's group stage to appear at his fifth global finals. "However, I’ve done it with my head up and I’ve added my small contribution to the greater success of this team.”

A leader on the pitch, Marquez donned the captain’s armband for Mexico in all five of his World Cup tournaments, seeing Mexico reach the knockout stage in all of them. The defender also tasted glory on home soil in 1999 as El Tri won the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The defender’s glittering club career saw him win four Spanish La Liga titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues and one FIFA Club World Cup with Barcelona, while also experiencing domestic league title success in France and Mexico with Monaco and Leon respectively.