Backe suspends Marquez for Saturday’s game after controversial comments


Photo by Andrew Katsampes/

Rafa Marquez's controversial comments have cost him a spot in the lineup for the New York Red Bulls' crucial match this Saturday against the Portland Timbers.

New York manager Hans Backe has suspended Marquez for the match after the Designated Player made harsh remarks and belittled his teammates after the club unraveled in a 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, sources confirmed to SBI.

New York conceded three goals in the opening 21 minutes of a match that was of great importance to the club, and Marquez, a captain at the club and international level, went the unconventional route of appearing to throw his teammates under the bus. He also singled out his centerback partner, Tim Ream, whose error led directly to RSL's second goal.

Marquez' play has been subpar as well, evidenced by his culpability on the third RSL goal, leading many to call for his benching even prior to his comments.

What do you think of Backe's decision?

Share your thoughts below.

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94 Responses to Backe suspends Marquez for Saturday’s game after controversial comments

  1. Lenny says:

    Best decision Backe’s made all season. COYRB!!

  2. Fred says:

    LOL! I love it! Marquez is a little biatch!

  3. YO says:

    Deport him!

  4. chris says:

    Hell Yeah

  5. JJ says:

    Implosions are fun to watch.

  6. Hutskizzle says:

    welp, that didnt take long. congrats!

  7. Neruda says:

    Finally showing some Backebone.

    Marquez is not worth the anything approaching a mil let alone five mil and his passing is bad.

  8. Matt S says:

    If its the truth or not you don’t come out and say it to the media. Coming from Barcelona you can say that he was used to playing with players at the highest level but he also had players at the highest level covering for his mistakes. Now that he is expected to carry his weight he is being found out. Ream does make mistakes but what do you expect of a guy playing his second year in the professional game? Very unprofessional of Rafa and he has VERY little to back up his comments with since his performances haven’t been exactly stellar.

    The sooner we see the back of him out the door the better. Can do much better for the amount of money he is making.

  9. marco says:

    Even if his evaluation of his teammates is accurate, his excuse for his poor play clearly states that Rafa can’t play with them. Backe had no choice.

  10. David says:

    Activate Petke!

  11. sholata says:

    I’ve been wondering if Rafa’s performance to date, not just the last game, was the result of lingering impact from his June injury. Or was it that he is getting older and slower (as happens to us all). After hearing his comments, I think both are incorrect. He’s simply stupid. It won’t save money to toss him off the team altogether. It might save the integrity of the franchise.

  12. Steve says:

    Thank god Hans did this. Things would have gotten ugly right from the player introductions at RBA on Saturday if Rafa was playing. Now if only Hans could suspend himself and bring in Richie Williams as his replacement?

  13. Chris says:

    He wasn’t playing very well before the Gold Cup. I don’t think it’s getting older and slower—he’s turned in some solid performances for Mexico. He’s playing lazy soccer for RBNY, almost like he just doesn’t care. Just makin’ his paycheck.

  14. skyman says:

    Imagine what one could do with his salary. .. .what a waste.

    I still can’t forget his elbowing Coby in 2002. That was a full blown assault, which could have left Coby concussed.

  15. pancholama says:

    The kind of player, who when surrounded by better players can rise to their level – (Barcelona, – Mexican Nat Team) – but who was hired to raise up his NY team mates to a higher level, and has just phoned it in, and left them hanging time and time again, done little to raise them to his supposed higher level of play.
    In US – Mexico matches he usually showed himself to be a shameless hatchet man, going at Tim Howard flying in with studs up, chopping down US players with late challenges, elbows to the back of the head on 50-50 air balls, etc. – a dirty pig. I have no respect for him, never did and never will. Barca is certainly a better team without him, hopefully NY will also improve without him. A waste of 5 million dollars, a total waste.

  16. Frank says:

    Marquez spoke the truth but sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut

  17. Dakota Sillyman says:

    I agree

  18. AC says:

    Talk about not being able to be a leader…You saw after Ream’s horrible mistake, Rost, the goalkeeper come out and try to encourage him…That’s being a leader…

  19. TonyT says:

    Somebody please bench the coach instead!.. I’m sure NY would have a lot better results!

  20. Jason B says:

    Can’t we leave this type of crap off here?

  21. pancholama says:

    The problem is that the stuffed shirts in Salzburg and Vienna who run the Red Bull, haven’t a clue as to how to make things work in MLS, in the US, have no respect for US players, or US coaches and have their heads so far up their a**es it’s a wonder they can hear each other. Richie Williams sweated blood for the NY, the Metro Stars, the Red Bull, whatever you want to call them and gave his life to that team, and he got repaid with zilch. Furthermore Richie Williams is born and bred – central NJ, HS All American, Newark Star Ledger, all decade, HS all star team, US National Team, etc, etc, etc, – i.e. someone who was and is intimate with soccer in the NY Metro area, since the time he could stand his own two feet, and exceedingly knowledgeable of the game at the national and international level – another wasted opportunity by those idiots in a
    Austria. They could have AT LEAST kept him on in the development academy where his knowledge and experience of youth level soccer in the NY-NJ area would have been priceless, invaluable and expert.

  22. Timber Dan says:

    Can’t we stop whining about a comment that was made in jest? What do you say we stop playing “PC Police” and just not get so bent out of shape about little things. Sheesh. Lighten up people!

  23. betamale says:

    yea it’s the internet dude, relax.

  24. Luis B. says:

    i thought it was a headbutt, i guess you did forget…

  25. ManicMessiah says:

    Had to be done. But it’s hard to imagine too many people on the squad or in management who couldn’t be doing better right now.

    This is the kind of thing that hopefully can galvanize the rest of the team. Hopefully they will also welcome Marquez back, because it’s a distraction they don’t need.

  26. al17 says:

    If what he said was true then it definitely exposes his lack of leadeship. I remember years ago when Gullit was signed to play with Chelsea. He was asked a question in regards to the ability of a few of his teammates. His response was along these lines (couldn’t find nor remember the exact quote). Good players make other players better by playing to their strength and putting them in a situation to succeed. Example, if Joe cannot shoot with his left then when I make passes for him to shoot, I make sure it’s a pass sent in such a way that he will have a good chance of finishing with his right. Totally understood the mental part of the game and this from a guy who played a lead role for one of the best club teams in history at Milano.

    Shame that Marquez doesn’t get the negative mental affect this could have on his teammates.

  27. SoccerInATL says:

    It was a strange pick paying 5 million to a defender in the MLS for your DP. It was also alienating to bring in one of the most hated players of all time by US Nat team supporters. Not exactly a good way to boost shirt sales. The immigrant population in NY also didn’t really think highly of him either.

    The guy also didn’t want to play fullback anymore and wanted to play defensive mid where he is questionable on following runners.

    What in the world are NYRB thinking? How do you even attempt to offload this guy with a salary that high as well? Nobody is going to touch him in MLS. Perhaps a Mexican team would be interested but they aren’t going to pay that much either

  28. SoccerInATL says:

    Also, Richie Williams as intern head coach did nothing but turn a loser into a decent winning soccer team when he had control. You then say bye because we got sven’s assistant coach. LOL ..cheesus

  29. Hopper says:

    It was a headbutt. They even showed it in slow motion.

  30. K-Town says:

    Ahhh, I see what you did there. Very clever Neruda.

  31. Mo-one says:

    Yeah, because this is going to help. The NYEnergyDrinks still suck. They still wont go anywhere in the playoffs and they’ll still be rotten next year. Hopes will be high. Truckloads of money will still be spent. But the Energy Drinks are still going to end up toward the bottom of the table every year.

    And I’ll still be a happy camper, laughing my butt off when I hear NYED fans say how this year is going to be their year. No it wont. It never will. And what’s even better is that they’re in NY, so they’ll never move. They’ll always be a mediocre team at best.

  32. SoccerInATL says:

    Something MLS needs to never do again is just let the home team’s coach lead the All Star team ever again. Can you believe Hans Backe got to represent MLS coaches? ARe you seriously too cheap to buy a hotel room and a plane ticket for the current points leader coach? To quote Droga “Its a f…. disgrace”

  33. SoccerInATL says:

    even fox soccer will pay for Ives’ 12 dollar tolls through the tunnels

  34. Chris says:

    NOOOOO! We need to get the best team on the field. Period. Rafa’s relatively mild criticism should have been ignored, not penalized.

    And, folks, he’s our best defender. No doubt about it.

    I’ll boo him when he puts on a green shirt.

  35. Olly says:

    Marquez and Torsten Frings are the exact opposite players.

  36. Eurosnob says:

    Henry is ten times the player Marquez is but he is not throwing his teammates under the bus. Right call by Backe to suspend him.

  37. dan says:

    true… but how you use “truth” is THE most crucial aspect about truth itself. Knowing how “use” truth is wisdom.

  38. dan says:

    you don’t get it dude…. skill is one thing, but creating the right team chemistry is priceless.

  39. chris says:

    he is no way your best defender. He might have the best skill but he puts in no effort and has blown all year. Send him back to Mexico

  40. shane says:

    Now if only Backe would suspend himself all would be right.

  41. Poo says:

    would have been my exact comment.

  42. Matt B. says:

    My dislike for Frings is almost greater then Marquez

  43. chris says:

    I wish i had money so i could buy this team and change the f*cking name back

  44. BB says:

    Good. He had a real attitude that game. Sit down buddy.

  45. Scott A says:

    Nice first step. Now suspend yourself Hans. At least until you go to Open Cup games, not get rid of your assistants who know MLS best, not make trades that cripple us in the future, stop saying that fans are booing because of the media, and people around you say that you actually watch MLS games and prepare.

  46. Khan says:

    I find this entire situation a tad bit perplexing. Rafa Marquez was consistently one of the best players on the NYRB team until Backe moved him next to Ream for whatever reason.

    Marquez is not, and never was a center back. He simply lacks the quickness to function in the spot. He is a very good deep lying defensive midfielder where his sense of positioning allows him to compensate.

    Instead of blaming Marquez, the blame should be set at the feet of Backe. That being said, I would not be surprised to learn that Marquez is mailing games in at this point. For a professional with his experience and talent, a circus like this must be infuriating.

  47. William the Terror says:

    If he’s working so much harder than his teammates, how come he hasn’t crapped his shorts during a game?

  48. Alex says:

    True yea, but his play hasn’t been up to par to be able to call someone out. He has been, at best, average. For a player of his pricetag he should be a leader and a performer but he is at most a role player. His play has been like his corner kicks. Lacksidasical and without pace.

    Also, people who follow Herc Gomez on twitter, anybody see him call out marquez? F*ckin beautiful

  49. Annelid Gustator says:

    Looks like their wages bill is going to decrease soon. Backe and Marquez at least 😉

  50. conrad says:

    Márquez was never a center back? You’re not the first person to say this, but — this is just flat-out wrong. Of course he was. His best years at Barça were at CB paired with Puyol. It is his natural position. Márquez did play defensive mid at Barça when there were injuries to the midfield.
    He does lack the quickness he had in 2004, to be sure. What he most lacks is a Xavi to pick the ball up off his feet. I feel bad for Rafa — the treatment he got was uncalled for. The crowd wanted to boo the team as a whole, and probably should boo Ream. But Ream is “our boy” — xenophobia wins. That said, Backe did the right thing. Rafa can’t play after those comments.

  51. Eric says:

    I agree that you can place blame on Backe too but don’t say not to blame Marquez after you admit he might be mailing it in. I don’t care if they’re having Jackie Moon fight a bear at halftime of their ‘circus'; Rafa is a paid professional. No matter how chaotic or how much of a circus the team is, his job is to go out and perform the the best of his ability regardless of where the coach places him on the field.

    Even if he isn’t a natural centerback, his team feels that where is best suited to help them so his job is to do his best at that positin.

  52. Kevin_Amold says:

    It was a headbutt combined with a spiking. Really atrocious.

    Hopefully we all remember what he did to Tim Howard in the hex also.

  53. conrad says:

    GAah! HE IS A NATURAL CENTER BACK. *head explodes*

  54. NopalTech says:

    Some hurt backsides here.

    How about we consider Rafa as a human being… not easy going from being an star in the 1st World of soccer to the reality of league that is comparable to the Spanish 3rd division.

  55. Khan says:

    I’m not sure that xenophobia is the word I would choose, but I agree with your sentiment. Frankly, based on the past several games as a sample size, Ream should be booed at every touch.

    You are correct about Marquez playing center back for Barcelona. My assumption is that we are talking about his recent playing time, the last several years.

    As for his comments, he left Backe with little choice but to suspend him. Regardless of validity, those words are not meant for public consumption.

  56. john says:

    +1 but consider this, “Backe suspends Marquez indefinitely.” nice ring to it.

    headline after following game: “NY finds a way to play together with 11 players fully into it.”

    and the Post: “Marquez sulks will Bulls ride high!”

  57. Poo says:

    Get a clue. I can think of about $4.5 million reasons why it should be easy for someone of Rafa’s stature to deal with the “problems” at hand.

  58. Eric says:

    Conrad, I was saying that in response to Khan. Look up at his posts as well.

  59. Eric says:

    Really? Spanish 3rd division? I hope you’re joking about how you see the level of talent in MLS. I’ll buy second division but MLS is better than the third division.

  60. mistadobolina says:

    good luck getting rid of his contract! NY is going to be losing a lot of money (and mexican player’s credibility) with Marquez

  61. Hush says:

    Crazy to hear folks blast Rafa’s work ethic. Ream sucks bottom line, if there is someone who needs to be deported is, Backe and I agree, Rafa should have kept his mouth shut and enjoyed his 5mil. Unfortunately the Red Bulls really suck and the dude could not hold back any longer. He by far is the best defender in the red bulls, no doubt, those who think otherwise are just simply hating. And for those saying Rafa plays better with El Tri then with the Bulls,.. well,.. that’s because the Mex team has decent defenders through out the midfield unlike the RedBulls. If Torrado & Salcido were on the Red Bulls, I guarantee Rafa would stand out like a white kid at a Kanye west concert.

    I say trade Rafa to the Galaxy and let him work with Gonzo! Maybe Gonzo has a better understanding of the game… Ream has shown jack squad! He’s a clown & overrared in my opinion.

  62. Don Pelayo says:

    The existence of Rafa Marquez is unpleasant. However, a player epitomizing pure evil does make it easier to choose the correct path in the world of soccer.

  63. chris says:

    haha no thank you. rafa blows and youre a biased mexican fan

  64. KC says:

    I was going to say something but there is no sense arguing with American fans. Easily the most ignorant fans in the world

  65. NopalTech says:

    Eric here is the way I see things…

    FMF about level of Spanish 2nd Division

    MLS about level of Mex 2nd Division

    Mex 2nd Division about level of Spanish 3rd Division hence MLS about level of Spanish 3rd Division

    This makes sense not just based on watching matches from the various divisions & assessing the skills & talent of players but also in terms of budget, management quality, competitive environment & training.

    Excluding DPs…. Mex 2nd Division & Spanish 3rd Division clubs have slightly bigger payrolls than MLS clubs… the Spanish 3rd Division clubs (which are usually the reserve clubs of first division teams) have world class ex-players & top notch developmental coaches instructing their players… they have a clear edge over Mex 2nd Division & MLS in these areas. Lets not forget that the Messi’s of the world play quite a few Spanish 3rd division matches in those years when they make the 1st team squad but not getting lots of minutes… the promising talent playing in the Spanish 3rd division week in & week out is far superior to what plays in MLS & Mex 2nd Division… however the MLS & Mex 2nd Division counter balance a little with seasoned, grizzly veterans who make their teams competitive vs Spanish 3rd Division.

  66. conrad says:

    Well said. Twat.

  67. NopalTech says:

    I should mention my older brother played in A-League, Mex 2nd Division, Spanish 3rd Division and Austrian 1st Division.

  68. TomG says:

    Backe is locking the barn door after the horse left, ate all the hay, kicked over a gas lamp, burned down the barn and ran away, but at least he’s finally doing SOMEthing to try to instill some discipline.

  69. Alex says:

    -1 to Chris

    +1 to chris

  70. Alex says:

    bahahahaha +1 to you Conrad. I really hope a mod doesn’t remove that post…. Or this one.

    And if KC really wants to think that Marquez has been good this year for NYRB than he can keep his biased opinion. If anybody looks at Big Soccer’s Mens N&A forum, look under the MLS thread to see an “ignorant american’s” analysis of how “good” Marquez has been. The pot called, and the kettle is still very black.

  71. Alex says:

    Dude, hush.

  72. A wise man once says:

    So, how many MLS matches have you watched?

  73. A wise man once says:

    But did he play in MLS? Didn’t think so.

  74. Alex says:

    Okay screw it I don’t know if theres rules against linking other sites, but this deserves a looksee.

    link to

  75. biff says:

    I found that on u-toob and oh, man, that ain’t an elbow, that is a full force head butt to Cobi Jones’ head that could have been lethal. And Marquez as he saunters off the field has a nasty smirk on his face you’d like to see smacked off. Why would any MLS team pay that guy millions…

    It starts at the 1:55 mark…

    link to

  76. socnow says:

    This is such a junk comment. Such armchair bulls$#t.

  77. socnow says:

    Yeah, my friends older brother has a cousin who knows a guy who went to school with this chick who knows a cab driver who overhead some guy say that Spanish 3rd division is really good.

  78. socnow says:

    Consider Rafa as a human being? First world problems. Meh.

  79. socnow says:

    If he was expecting RBNY to be the same quality as FCB then Marquez is at best delusional. At worst he is disingenuous and doing business in bad faith.

    He is talking like a guy who knows he’s not earning his money and is finally being called out on it, but he won’t own up to it. Marquez fail. RBNY/MLS malinvestment.

  80. Andrew H. says:

    I would also like to dispel the myth that Marquez has played well for Mexico this season. He has stunk for them just like he has stunk for the Red Bulls. In the Gold Cup final, I am convinced he feigned an injury so he wouldn’t get exposed more. Miraculously, he was healthy not long after supposedly suffering a leg injury in the game. I ‘ve said it before and I will say it again…Marquez is a bum!

  81. conrad says:

    Apologies. Trying to be “funny” — often doesn’t come across in blog comments. We’re all in agreement. I wish the team would play better is all. You remember how absolutely DOMINANT RBNY were at the beginning of the season? It all started going south with the DeRo trade. He wasn’t bad for NY, just didn’t really do anything, and he was expensive. After that, it all started to unwind.

  82. beachbum says:

    scroll down to Sep. 22 to find the tweet, can’t miss it

    link to

    cheers Herc

  83. bballbeachbum says:

    you don’t get it on the booing, and it has nothing to do with xenophobia

    oh well

  84. Ach says:

    No player is above the team.
    Let’s stop comparing the MLS to European leagues where salary caps don’t exist. To compare is ignorant, I’m sure that if the league was spending the money some
    Of these clubs do we would also be first class.

  85. conrad says:

    That is a pretty persuasive article.

  86. Wm. says:

    Marques has always been a punk. The only cool thing he ever did was scissor kick and karate chop Cobi Jones at the World Cup in one single deft move. Awesome.

  87. Eric W says:

    umm, that’s not a joke or an un-pc comment. it’s just racism and xenophobia. we definitely don’t need the kind of ignorance dumbing down our conversations here.

  88. Daniel says:

    No doubt Marquez has been sucking. But he is just being used as a scapegoat. I am sure NYRB fans would like the idea of having Marquez as their only problem.

  89. marco says:

    Marquez is correct but his anger should have been directed at Backe and NYRB management not the players.

  90. AdamFromMich says:

    Interesting article. Clearly the NY fans were wrong to boo Rafa whenever he had the ball. They should boo him whenever the other team has the ball, cause that’s when his ball-watching has been hurting them.

  91. eddie says:

    He’s not bigger than the club. That’s the message being sent. You can’t say and do anything you want and represent the club. Professionalism is not just on the field, but a matter of speech and action also.

  92. Joamiq says:

    1. You’re delusional. We NEVER think it’s our year.

    2. NYEnergyDrinks – so original! Ooh, what a burn!

    3. You have a pretty expansive definition of “bottom of the table”

  93. Joamiq says:

    Have you been watching him play? He’s been playing worse than Keel and Mendes these days.

  94. Joamiq says:

    I was not expecting this, but I applaud Backe for doing it. Just about the only thing he’s done worth applauding.