Saturday’s final between Manchester United and FC Barcelona has a number of storylines. For those in the CONCACAF region one storyline that sticks out is the inclusion and impact that Mexican sensation Chicharito can make on Saturday’s championship.
While the Mexican’s ascent into stardom will receive a boost from winning the finale Saturday he’s not the first player from the CONCACAF region to play in the final. So who are the other two players who’ve taken part in the UEFA Champions League final?
Rafa Marquez: The obvious answer
Mexican Captain Rafa Marquez spent seven plus years at Camp Nou and in that time the Catalan club raised the most coveted trophy in the world twice. First in 2006 when Marquez manned the middle of the backline for Barcelona in their 2-1 defeat over Marquez’ current New York Red Bull teammate Theirry Henry’s Arsenal club. That was the only final that Marquez played in as the defender was injured during Barcelona’s run to the championship in 2009. Marquez left Camp Nou soon after to move to MLS side New York Red Bull where he currently plays today.
Dwight Yorke: Soca Warrior great
Aston Villa has fond memories of Trinidad and Tobago’s Dwight Yorke for his eleven year 73 goal stint with the Villians. While he achieved the most individual fame at Villa, his move to Manchester United brought his best team success with the Yorke – in partnership with Andy Cole – helping Manchester United to the 1999 treble. Yorke put in a full shift in a fantastic final that saw Manchester United notch two stoppage time goals to defeat Bayern Munich 2-1. Yorke went on to a solid spell at Old Trafford scoring 47 goals in 95 appearances for the Red Devils before moving to Blackburn in 2002.
Chicharito will certainly become the third CONCACAF player to take part in the final on Saturday against Marquez’ former club. If all goes well the young striker can join his countryman and Yorke as the third CONCACAF player to feature in and win the UEFA Champions League final.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com and contributes to Soccerlens.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.