Days before one of Mexico's most important games in the last three years, captain Rafael Marquez talked to FIFA.com about a variety of topics in his first interview since he was sent off against the United States on Feb. 11.
Marquez is out for Mexico's next two World Cup qualifiers, on Saturday against Costa Rica and April 1 at Honduras.
receiving his red card against the Americans, Marquez said he was being
singled-out for the loss and the state of the national team.
also think it's unfair that people are trying to pin the blame on me
for the bad results we've been having," Maraquez told FIFA.com. "If you
ask me, Mexican football has a deep-rooted problem and that's the cause
of the bad patch we've been going through. Our football is stagnating
and with everything that's happened, it's time to come right out and
say it. If we carry on like this we're all going to pay for it."
Barcelona man saw red after a vicious kick to American goalkeeper Tim
Howard's legs on a play inside the penalty area. Trailing by a goal at the time, Mexico went on to lose 2-0. FIFA handed Marquez an
additional one-match ban for his actions.
"I've calmed (down)
about it now," Marquez said. "The first few days were very tough. I
made a mistake but I've been going over it in my mind and learning from
the experience. I'm focusing on my club at the moment... Of course, I'm
sad that I'm not with the national team right now and that's mainly
because I asked them permission to travel despite the suspension. I
wasn't allowed to go, though."
With or without Marquez, Mexico
need to show better. In their last four World Cup qualifiers, Mexico
have gone 0-3-1, have scored twice and yielded six goals. Part of the
problem, Marquez said, is the Mexican media.
"There are a lot of
things that are going on and we need to analyze them closely to find
out why they're happening. It's almost like we're trying to shoot
ourselves in the foot," Marquez said. "I'm talking about everyone on
the outside of Mexican football. Not everyone, of course, but sometimes
the press seem to be trying to outdo each other and publish the most
trashy stories to seel more papers. That doesn't help the national
When times are good, everyone on El Tri benefits and
soaks in the success. But when times are tough, Marquez said it is the
players who take the brunt of the heat.
"Sometimes I feel we're
being left to fend for ourselves. At the same time though I'm aware
that it's up to us to put things right and to work with what we've got
at the moment," he told FIFA.com. "We know we can't afford to put a
foot wrong. We need to give it our all and go all out to qualify.
Sometimes people forget that we're only at the start and we need to
give it everything we have, with all our strong points and defects."
his captaincy and enormous popularity, Marquez has not been given a
pass for his latest red card. Marquez, who was also sent off in the
2002 World Cup and 2005 Confederations Cup, said speculation over his
love or lack thereof for Mexico were completely off base.
people who don't know me and who have no idea about feelings in general
say things like that," Marquez said. "If that were really the case, I'd
have turned my back on the national team a long time ago... I'm never
going to let Mexico down again. I made a mistake, that's true. I'm an
aggressive player and that's one of my flaws and because of that I get
made and lose control. But I'm learning to channel that energy now. I
don't care about negative opinions because they come from people who
don't know anything about football."
No matter what has happened
in the past, Marquez said he feels Mexico will turn things around at
some point during the Hexagonal and that El Tri will be in South Africa
for the 2010 World Cup.
"I've got no doubts about that," Marquez said. "I'm convinced we'll qualify for the World Cup."