Márquez straining at Camp Nou leash
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
FC Barcelona's Rafael Márquez is desperate to start against FC Dynamo Kyiv after recovering from knee and calf injuries, with the defender saying "playing a few minutes is not the same as the full 90".
Article top media content
FC Barcelona's Rafael Márquez is desperate to start against FC Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday after recovering from knee and calf injuries, with the defender saying "playing a few minutes is not the same as the full 90".
The Mexican international injured his left knee during Barcelona's UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Chelsea FC on 28 April and subsequently missed their final triumph against Manchester United FC, the Copa del Rey final and the Liga run-in as the Catalan club won a historic treble. After recovering over the summer, he fell lame again in pre-season with a calf problem, sitting out the Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup matches.
Márquez finally returned to action with a nine-minute cameo in the Blaugrana's 5-2 Liga victory over Club Atlético de Madrid on 19 September, before a further substitute appearance at Real Racing Club Santander three days later. Having since been rested for Saturday's win at Málaga CF, the 30-year-old would love to stretch his legs again against Dynamo in UEFA Champions League Group F. "What I need is to play," he said. "The toughest thing is getting into the rhythm of a match – playing a few minutes is not the same as the full 90. I'm trying to reach my top standard, like I had last season."
Ready for return
The centre-back is certain that when he does receive the nod from coach Josep Guardiola, he will have no problem reacclimatising to first-team football. "Not much has changed in my game since I joined the club in 2003," he added. "I stick to my style and it seems to work for me. Josep Guardiola doesn't like us to get complacent, but we do take a few risks." With 41 games and one goal in the competition, Márquez is the veteran of two UEFA Champions League-winning campaigns at Camp Nou. He plans to be around for more, too. "We're still in talks about renewing my contract, but I'm sure we'll reach an agreement," he said. "It's a matter of time. I hope we can sign something before the end of the year."