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Rafael Marquez: “I have the keys to shut down Messi.”

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Mexican international, Rafael Marquez, is a teammate of Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona. During an interview with Univision.com, who are broadcasting the World Cup in Spanish in North America, Marquez provided his perspectives on the key quarterfinal fixture against Argentina on Sunday from Johannesburg. He discussed Leo Messi, needing a perfect game to beat Argentina, his manager, Javier Aguirre, and the history between both teams from the last World Cup.

Knows Messi Well: “It is very difficult to stop him.”

Tengo las claves para frenar a Messi”.

“Lo conozco bastante bien a Leo y la verdad que es muy dificil de pararle, pero trataremos de cerrarle espacios, tratar de tener muchas ayudas porque sabemos que a Leo es muy dificil quitarle el balón, tiene muy buena conducción, te cambia de ritmo en cualquier momento… Hay que estar bien juntos, no darle espacios y tratar de que tenga menos la pelota”.

Rafael Marquez and Leo Messi with FC Barcelona
Rafael Marquez and Leo Messi with FC Barcelona

“I have the keys to shut down Messi.”

“I know Leo fairly well and the truth is, it is very difficult to stop him. But we will try to close down spaces, to try to help out a lot because we know that Leo is very difficult to dispossess from the ball. He has a very good dribble. He changes rhythm on you at any moment… You have to stay compact and not give him space and try to allow him to see less of the ball.”

On Exploiting Argentina: “We have to try to have a perfect game.”

Ante Argentina debemos tratar de hacer un partido perfecto, porque atraviesa por un gran momento, con grandes jugadores y una gran ofensiva, pero también tiene sus debilidades, y debemos encontrárselas. Confío mucho en mi equipo y en mis compañeros para hacer un gran partido“.

Rafael Marquez and Diego Forlan of Uruguay
Rafael Marquez and Diego Forlan of Uruguay

“Against Argentina, we have to try to have a perfect game. Because they are experiencing a great moment, with great players and a great offense. But they also have their weaknesses and we have to find them. I have a lot of faith in my team and in my teammates to produce a great game.”

Comparing the 2006 and 2010 Argentinean and Mexican Sides

Quizá sea mejor Argentina ahora, tiene el mejor jugador del Mundo, que es Leo Messi y eso la hace más completa, pero nosotros somos mejor equipo ahora también, tenemos varios jugadores en Europa, y somos más maduros y con más confianza“.

“Who knows if Argentina is better now. They have the best player in the world in Leo Messi and that makes them more complete. But we are a better side now as well. We have several players in European teams and we are more mature with more confidence.”

Comparisons between Javier Aguirre and Diego Maradona

Cuestionado de si existe cierta ventaja a favor de México en el hecho de que el ‘Vasco’ Aguirre tenga más experiencia como técnico que Maradona, Márquez subrayó que:

“Al final de cuenta son los jugadores quienes jugan”.

“Desde luego que Javier tiene una gran experiencia como entrenador y en ese sentido si les llevamos ventaja, pero nos toca a nosotros hacer el trabajo dentro de la cancha”.


Questioning if there exists a certain advantage for Mexico in the fact that Javier “Vasco” Aguirre has more management experience than Diego Maradona, Marquez noted that:

“In the end, all that counts are the players who play. Since the time that Javier took over, he has had a great experience as manager and in that sense, it gives us an advantage. But it is left up to us to do the work on the pitch.”

Rafael Marquez scoring against South Africa
Rafael Marquez scoring against South Africa

A Thorn in Mexico Since the Last World Cup

Trataremos de poder cambiar esa historia, y tenemos esa espinita clavada de hace cuatro años y ojalá nos la podamos quitar el domingo. Creo que aquel fue el mejor partido de México en el Mundial, y una maravilla de jugada (un gol de Maxi Rodríguez), que quizá sale una sóla vez en la vida, nos dejó fuera. Trataremos de evitar que eso ocurra de nuevo“.

“We will try to change that history, and we have that thorn stuck in us from four years ago and hopefully we will be able to pull it out on Sunday. I believe that match was the best of Mexico at the World Cup. Maxi Rodriguez had a wonder goal that who knows if it goes in once in your life. It went in against us. We will try to avoid that it happens again.”

Spanish source: Univision.com, June 25, 2010.


Argentina defeated Mexico, 3-0, in their last competitive fixture at the semi-finals of the 2007 Copa America tournament held in Venezuela.

The winner of this match faces the victor between England and Germany.

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.

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Steve is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He was the founder of World Football Commentaries in 2006. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Soccer School), Football Media, Italian Soccer Serie A, International Herald Tribune 2006 World Cup Fan Blog, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens. Steve has also created three football-related sites: World Football, Italian Calcio and History of the Azzurri, and The Amoias of the Americas. Steve translated player and manager quotes from Italian and Spanish to English for Soccerlens during the FIFA 2010 World Cup.