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The center back has been on top in other leagues around the world but is ecstatic to be lifting the trophy in his home country.

After a career defined by lifting trophies with Monaco and Barcelona, 34-year-old Rafa Marquez won his first domestic title in Mexico as Leon overcame America 5-1 on aggregate in the Liga MX final.

“I’m very happy, I’ve worked very hard for this,” said Marquez on television after Leon’s 3-1 win on Sunday in the Estadio Azteca. “A lot of people had written me off to the verge of retirement.”

“Today I’ve shown with Club Leon that I’ve given my all to achieve this,” added a clearly delighted Marquez.

Marquez won two Champions Leagues, a French title and four La Liga championships, amongst other honors, in Europe, but his career slipped off the rails after an injury- and controversy-hit stint in MLS with the New York Red Bulls between 2010 and 2012.

Marquez signed for Leon in December 2012 but endured a shaky start to his first season.

However, with a full preseason behind him ahead of the Clausura championship, the “Kaiser of Michoacan” has recaptured his good form and earned a recall to the Mexican national team.

“How good it tastes to be champion in my beautiful country!” Tweeted Marquez after the game. “Thanks to everyone for their unconditional support.”

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