Rafael Márquez Alvarez was born in Zamora, Mexico, in 1979. He began his career as a central defender at Mexican club Atlas in 1996, appearing 77 times for the club in a three-year spell before French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco acquired his services for a cool €6m in 1999. In his first season at Monaco, the club won the French league championship.
Márquez moved onto Spanish La Liga's Catalan giants FC Barcelona in 2003 after 87 games for Monaco, where he began to play in a defensive midfield role. His decorations during his highly successful seven seasons at Barca included a Champions League winner's medal in 2006 and being part of an historic league, domestic cup and Champions League treble in 2008–9.
Despite overtures from other top European clubs for his services, Márquez chose to move Stateside to join Red Bull New York in the MLS upon leaving Barcelona in summer 2010.
Márquez is also a top international player, having played for Mexico 94 times, scoring 11 goals. Perhaps his highest-profile goal was against South Africa in the opening match of FIFA World Cup 2010. He has captained Mexico for the last eight years.