Rafael Marquez began his career at Mexican club side Atlas where he made his first team debut in 1996 at the age of 17. He made 77 appearances for the club during his three year stay which also saw him score six goals. His most successful season saw him finish as runner up in the domestic season with the club. In 1999, AS Monaco purchased him for 6 million euro. The defender became an immediate success with the team by helping lead them to the league title during his first season at the club. He made 87 appearances for Monaco during his four year stay that also saw him notch five goals.
Marquez's impressive performances saw some of Europe's bigger clubs pressure the French club to sell him. In 2003, Marquez made his move to Spanish giants Barcelona for 5 million euro. In his first season, Marquez appeared fairly regularly in a defensive midfield role due to injuries. However, he excelled and helped the team to 2nd place in the league. The 2005 campaign saw the defender win the Spanish League with Barcelona before becoming the first Mexican to win the Champions League in 2006. Soon after, his contract was extended until June 2010. Ever since then, he has struggled with injuries and been more of a bit part player for the side since 2007. However, he has stated that he wishes to finish his career with the club.
Marquez made his national team debut in 1997. Despite missing the 1998 World Cup, he has been one of the most important players in the Mexican national team throughout the last decade. The defender has won several honours with his country such as the 1999 Confederations Cup and the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has represented his country on 87 different occasions including two World Cups. He is likely to be a part of the Mexican 2010 World Cup squad.