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Márquez and Barcelona part company

Rafael Márquez's seven years of service for FC Barcelona have concluded after the Mexican international reached an agreement with the Spanish champions to cancel his contract.

Márquez and Barcelona part company
Márquez and Barcelona part company ©UEFA.com

Mexico defender Rafael Márquez has ended his seven-season stay at FC Barcelona after the 31-year-old reached an agreement with the Spanish champions to cancel his contract 12 months early.

Before leaving the Camp Nou club on a free transfer, Márquez said goodbye at a farewell ceremony overseen by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell. "I have lived the best moments of my football life here – I have won everything possible," said Márquez. "I'm leaving because last season I didn't play too many minutes and I'm looking for that.

"I could have stayed here quite comfortably without playing that often, but that's not the kind of character I am. I have always been ambitious and I want to play football." A centre-back cum defensive midfielder, Márquez won four Liga titles, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup, one Copa del Rey, three Spanish Super Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup with the Blaugrana.

Márquez, who has 95 Mexico caps, arrived in Catalonia from AS Monaco FC in 2003 and went on to make 163 Liga appearances. The former Atlas player becomes the second stellar name to quit Barça this summer after Thierry Henry's move to New York Red Bulls. Josep Guardiola's side will begin their quest for a fourth European crown when they join the UEFA Champions League group stage in September.

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