Red Bulls release Rafa Marquez

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Keith Hickey: Rafa Marquez's tenure in MLS was a huge success... for Mexico

The Rafa Marquez Era in Major League Soccer is over.

The Mexican international was released by the New York Red Bulls Thursday, putting an end to a tenure that was marked more by controversy and criticism than productivity on the field. In a shade more than two seasons with the Red Bulls after joining the club as a Designated Player from FC Barcelona, Marquez appeared in 44 regular season games and six playoff matches. At a salary of $4.6 million, he was MLS' second-highest paid player this past season behind teammate Thierry Henry.

“This decision has been made in the best interests of both parties concerned,” Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a team statement. “Rafa has accomplished a great deal during his career and is a top quality player. We want to thank him for his service to the Red Bulls and wish him the best of luck in the next stage of his career.”

Sources told earlier in the week that Marquez was in negotiations to sign with Liga MX side Leon on a two-year deal. One major hurdle in completing that deal was him being released from his contract obligations with the Red Bulls, something which is no longer an issue.

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