It’s amazing to me that I’m reading about how Rafa Marquez is still needed on the Mexican Nation Team at the field level. Don’t get me wrong, I agree he needs to be involved, but no longer on the field. One thing is playing for your club, but another thing is playing for a national team. And with the chatter that he will be a requirement for Russia 2018 I feel like we need to rethink this. I mean by Russia time he will be 39 years old and Mexico is not in the position to squander a spot out of respect for Rafa. (Sorry Rafa, you’re still a hero but we have to think logically)
Before you start ignoring this post, check out my reasoning behind this.
He is not a Striker nor a Goalie…
Rafa’s position on the field is that of a central defender/defensive central midfielder. A position that requires speed, strength and agility. Obviously the smarts as well and we know Rafa has that but in this case the physical is out of the question. Again, he is 39 years old and to keep up with the strikers and midfielders that he will face in a tournament like the World Cup, it would be nothing more than challenging for him. Defense is not a position to field age before raw talent. Normally Strikers and Goalies are given these spots because a veteran striker can come in as a super sub in hopes to do some magic in the final 15 or 10 minutes of game were a team is down. Goalies occupy this role to help a younger goalie work through the nerves and stress of a tournament like the World Cup.
To give you some facts:
Carles Puyol(Spain) is now 38 years old. When he won the World Cup in 2010 he had just turned 31 years old. Mats Hummels for Germany, was 25 years old in 2014. Lets go further back to 2006 with Italy, Fabio Cannavaro was 32 years old. So to give you an idea, in the last three World Cups, the central defender was on average 29 years old. A 10 year difference from what Rafa will be.
I know one of the biggest arguments is that he needs to be the leader, but I disagree. I believe Andres Guardado has worked hard to be his successor as the leader. For me, he is ready to be the sole leader of the squad in Russia. He maintains good form and has been proven to handle pressure. He should have been that person in Brazil however because of Rafa it was shared. I say let him be the leader and let the coach and FMF (since they pull the strings) find a replacement for Rafa. Even if its two that need to share the spot. In a tournament like the World Cup, you don’t waste a position because it the moral thing to do, its important to do the right thing.