Rafael Márquez is the first Mexican ever to play for Barça, having arrived in the 2003-2004 close season as one of the principal reinforcements in defence.
His youth and the progress he's enjoyed in the last few years have combined to make him one of the most promising defenders in Europe.
Beginning his career at Atlas Guadalajara (1996-99) he made his debut in the Mexican first division when he was just 17 years old. Three years later he signed for AS Monaco where he soon fit into the demands of the European game. In 2000 he won the French League title and was named as the league's top defender.
In 2003 his team won the French League Cup. Captain of the Mexican national team he played in the 1999 and 2001 Copas de America and the 2002 World Cup.
Márquez has gained the complete respect and trust of Frank Rijkaard and has become a regular in the Barcelona team. In his first season at the club he was one of the key figures as the side earned direct qualification for the Champions League.
In 2004-05, he demonstrated his versatility. The knee ligament injuries to Edmilson and Thiago Motta meant that Márquez was asked to step away from his usual role in the centre of the defence and play as a defensive midfielder, as he had done for both Monaco and Mexico in the past. He proved to be outstanding in front of the defence as he helped the side win the league title.
As well as winning the Confederations Cup in 1999 and the Gold Cup in 2003, the captain of Mexico has been a regular for his national side under various coaches over the past few years. Márquez has played in the Copa America in 1999, 2001 and 2004 and the World Cup in 2002.
Right footed and very skilful, he reads the game well and has a great ability to launch his team in counter attacks. In addition he's a great free kick taker and strong in the air.
Known as the "Kàiser of Michoacán" for his elegance on the ball, dependability and skill coming out of defence, Marquez can also do the business as a central midfielder and has been compared to Franz Beckenbauer.
In the defensive midfield role, Márquez can impose his strength in the air as well as helping to build the play from the back as well as breaking up opposition attacks with his tackling.
2006-07 Spanish Supercup
2005-06 Champions League
2005-06 Spanish Supercup
2002-03 French League's Cup
Mexican National Team
2003 Golden Cup
1999 Confederation Cup