Goodbye for now, Rafa. CONCACAF will certainly miss you.
Just when it seemed Rafa Márquez was ready to settle down after two Liga MX titles with Club León and a fourth World Cup appearance for El Tri, the Mexican club announced on Monday that the 35-year-old defender will try his hand in Europe one last time at Italian club Hellas Verona.
One of the CONCACAF's most polarizing figures, Márquez last plied his trade on European soil in 2010 with Barcelona before signing with the New York Red Bulls as a Designated Player, a stint mired by a few high-profile incidents and spats with injury. He then moved to Leon ahead of the 2013 season, thriving in Mexico despite his struggles north of the border.
Márquez captained Mexico in his fourth straight appearance at the world's biggest tournament in Brazil, scoring once and leading El Tri to the Round of 16, where they lost to eventual semifinalist the Netherlands.
He joins a Hellas side that finished 10th in Serie A last season, led by 37-year-old Luca Toni's 20 goals. Márquez will be tasked with helping improve a defensive unit that gave up 68 goals, third most in the league.