Rafael Márquez’s historic signing on Monday didn’t come without a catch. The New York Red Bulls’ latest high-profile acquisition provides a unique test of character for those RBNY fans who are also fans of the US National Team. After all, Márquez has been ’Nats Enemy No. 1 ever since he slammed Cobi Jones back in 2002.
So, can a Big Apple foot soldier in Sam’s Army really cheer for Márquez?
Sí, se puede.
Here are five reasons New York fans should not only cheer for Márquez, but also embrace their former nemesis with all of their heart.
- He could be MLS’ best signing yet. From a competitive standpoint, the Red Bulls won Márquez’s heart over some stiff competition from Juventus, and locked down the most decorated Mexican player of his generation. His signing might not be as groundbreaking as Cuauhtémoc Blanco’s in 2007, but it’s a tremendous moment for the league when a top-notch Mexican player makes the jump to MLS.
- He’s an Aquarius. Seriously. Astrologically speaking, Márquez is a perfect fit for the Red Bulls’ midfield. Born Feb. 13, he’s an Aquarius, meaning he instinctively gets along with other Aquarii, Geminis and Libras. Fellow midfielders Joel Lindpere and Seth Stammler are both Libras, and head coach Hans Backe is a fellow Aquarius.
- He schmoozes with Eva Longoria. Kelly Ripa’s new affection for the Red Bulls is nice, but MLS has lacked a bit of Hollywood star power since the TomKat-loving heyday of Beckhamania. Márquez was on the red carpet with the Desperate Housewives star two weeks ago at a charity benefit in Hollywood, prompting a slew of paparazzi to snap up the pics. MLS is back, baby!
- The ladies love him. Siempre Mujer may not be The New York Times, but the Spanish-language women’s magazine has a devoted readership just the same. And those señoras and señoritas love Márquez. The El Tri captain was named the Sexiest Soccer Player in Siempre Mujer’s June issue as voted by readers. RBNY’s new man came out ahead of Brazil’s Kaká, Argentina’s Fernando Gago and Paraguay’s Roque Santa Cruz.
- He’s dating a model with US blood ties. Most international soccer stars date models, but not all date models with an American mother. Such is the case for Márquez’s main squeeze, Jaydy Michel, a model, actress and former Miss Jalisco who used to be married to Spanish pop icon Alejandro Sanz. If Michel and Márquez have any children together (she’s 35, he’s 31), could we be looking at a future US star?