Rafa Marquez is hoping that the new leadership in the New York Red Bulls front office will permit him to take the necessary steps to stay fresh during the offseason and enter the 2013 MLS campaign in form.
With Jerome de Bontin and Gerard Houllier stepping into leadership roles to replace ousted general manager and sporting director Erik Soler, Marquez is reportedly eying an offseason loan to a club in his native Mexico, with his youth club Atlas being his preferred destination. The move would also potentially help Marquez, 33, return to good standing with the Mexican national team ahead of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the World Cup.
"There's been changes at Red Bull and there will be more changes, with new directors coming into the institution," Marquez told ESPN's Spanish radio station at a charity event, according to MLSSoccer.com. "They'll be more accessible about looking at the options. I believe it could be beneficial for Red Bulls to let me go (on loan). I could get playing, get in a good rhythm and return to the team at the start of the season on the right track."
Developing a rhythm is something the much-maligned Marquez has been unable to do this season, missing the majority of the Red Bulls' games due to injury. He has only played in 13 of the club's 32 matches and is just coming off nursing another leg injury, returning from a hamstring strain and entering as a late substitute in the club's 2-0 loss to Chicago last Saturday. Marquez, with his $4.6 million salary, is the second-highest paid player in MLS behind teammate Thierry Henry ($5 million).
For Marquez to go back to a former club would mimic what Henry did last season, when the Frenchman went on loan to former club Arsenal to wide acclaim, helping the club to some important results in the FA Cup and Premier League. He began the MLS season in fine form, accounting for nine goals and five assists in the club's first eight matches.
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