Atlas shrugs? NY's Marquez talks offseason loan hopes

Rafa Marquez in New York's win over Columbus

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico – After a 2012 campaign that can at best be described as stop-start, New York Red Bulls Designated Player Rafael Márquez is already looking forward to and talking about 2013.

In preparation, he is not ruling out an offseason loan down to his native Mexico, as he lobbied for in the last offseason. This time, though, Márquez has indicated he believes there is a greater chance of Red Bulls accepting such a proposal, pointing to the recent changes at New York's front office.

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“There's been changes at Red Bull and there will be more changes, with new directors coming into the institution,” he told ESPN's Grupo Fórmula on Wednesday while in Mexico to promote a charity event. “They'll be more accessible about looking at the options. I believe it could be beneficial for Red Bulls to let me go [on loan], I could get playing, get in a good rhythm and return to the team at the start of the [MLS] season on the right track.”

Márquez admitted that he would like to return in the future to play in Mexico but mentioned the “country's situation” and the situation his preferred destination – his first club, Atlas – are in as reasons why now might not be the best time.

“On the other hand,” Márquez continued, “In the MLS break I'd like to keep active, so I need to think properly to see if [a loan move] is right for me or not, seeing as though next year will be very intense.”

Whatever happens, the 33-year-old will be glad to see the back of 2012, in which he has started just 12 games for the Red Bulls and only once for Mexico due to a string of injuries.

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The veteran of three World Cups, Márquez's latest injury was a hamstring strain sustained in the Red Bulls' 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on Sept. 22, but he returned to the field for the last 15 minutes of his team's 2-0 loss to Chicago Fire last Saturday.

The Red Bulls are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference. They host first-place Sporting KC on Oct. 20.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.