Marquez set to join Hellas Verona from Leon
The 35-year-old centre-back is poised for a return to Europe following his impressive displays at the World Cup this summer
Rafa Marquez is set to complete a sensational return to Europe after Club Leon confirmed he will join Serie A outfit Hellas Verona for the coming season.
Marquez, who won back-to-back Liga MX titles as club captain, was one of the standout performers of a Mexico side who somewhat surprisingly reached the last 16 of the World Cup and only narrowly lost to Netherlands.
“It is the player’s decision to look for new challenges,” a statement posted by club president Jesus Martinez on his Twitter account read. “We wish him the very best of success in his new club Hellas Verona in the Italian league.”
— Jesus Martinez M. (@jmartinez_leon) August 4, 2014
The statement added that Marquez will always be welcome to return to Leon in the future.
Marquez also sent a message thanking the Guanajuato club’s fans, claiming he would always carry them in his heart.
#GraciasLeon por todas las alegrías y desafíos. Los llevo por siempre en mi corazón. http://t.co/BqYm1Yvh8C pic.twitter.com/ORxgkDusKm
— Rafa Marquez (@RafaMarquezMX) August 4, 2014
Marquez joined Monaco in Ligue 1 from Club Atlas in 1999, before signing for Barcelona in 2003 and going on to become one of the most successful exports in the history of Mexican soccer.
The centre-back left Barcelona following World Cup 2010 and endured a difficult spell at New York Red Bulls, before signing for Leon ahead of the Clausura 2013.
He lifted back-to-back Liga MX titles as captain of La Fiera, at a time when many thought his career was coming to an end.
Marquez’s return to form opened the door to a comeback to the national team when El Tri was struggling in qualifying for Brazil 2014 and he duly delivered as captain of the side for a record fourth-consecutive World Cup finals.
Verona finished 11th in Serie A last season, just three points behind AC Milan and six behind Inter.
The club have also confirmed the signing of Antonio Luna from Aston Villa on a loan deal with the right to make the move permanent.