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Mexico's Rafa Marquez not thinking about retirement

Mexico's Rafa Marquez not thinking about retirement

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 03, 2015

It's been over 18 years since his debut for Mexico, but 36-year-old center back Rafa Marquez is not ready to retire from the national team just yet.

The Hellas Verona player -- the first to captain a team at four different World Cups -- is instead taking things slowly and insists that while he feels he is good enough, he'll keep turning out for Mexico.

"Life has shut me up a little, like when I said that South Africa was my last World Cup," explained Marquez in an exclusive interview with ESPN. "I never imagined I'd arrive in Brazil, and that has taught me a lesson about taking things day-by-day."

"If I'm at a good enough level to be in the national team, I'll carry on," added the former Barcelona player, who would join the elite group of players who've featured at five World Cups should he feature in Russia 2018. The list currently consists of just Germany's Lothar Matthaus and Mexico's Antonio Carbajal.

Marquez could make his 130th cap if -- as expected -- he takes to the field for Mexico against Trinidad and Tobago, and he stressed that the physical work he does at Hellas Verona has been a major help in keeping up his form at this stage of his career.

"Nobody has gifted me anything," he said. "Being Rafa Marquez or having the status or things I have won doesn't mean they have to call me up."

Next Tuesday, Marquez is likely to confront former teammate Lionel Messi from his days at Barcelona and said it would be "very special" to come across "the best player in the world."

In talking about the fact that he has had 12 different coaches in his career with the national team to date, Marquez said those in charge need to keep "their feet firmly on the ground" in times of good results and ride out the spells of poor ones.

The Michoacan native indicated he sent former coach Miguel Herrera -- who was fired for allegedly throwing a punch at a TV commentator -- a personal message of support and would prefer a permanent coach to come in who has a similar style.

"I'd like a coach that follows the same idea that Miguel had in his process, that maybe has that dynamism in their game, in their system," said Marquez. "But in the end we are starting a new process and we begin from zero."

While Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti takes charge of the upcoming friendlies and the Oct. 10 Confederations Cup playoff against the United States, Marquez wouldn't be drawn on whether the permanent candidate moving forward should be Mexican or brought in from abroad.

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