Barcelona release Marquez

BARCELONA - Mexico captain Rafael Marquez, who has been strongly linked in the media with a move to New York Red Bulls, has reached a deal with La Liga champions Barcelona that releases him from his contract.

"Barcelona and the player Rafa Marquez have agreed to rescind, by mutual consent, the contract that tied the two parties together until June 30, 2012," Barca said on their website on Saturday.

If the deal with the Red Bulls goes through, the 31-year-old would join former team mate Thierry Henry in New York. The French striker moved to Major League Soccer (MLS) this month after he was also freed from his contract with Barca.

"I don't know where I am going," he said at a farewell news conference on Saturday attended by new club president Sandro Rosell and coach Pep Guardiola.

"I am analysing the options that we have and the ones that I most like the sound of, although we don't yet know what decision to take," he added.

Marquez can operate as a centre back or defensive midfielder and would be the Red Bulls' third "designated player", whose wages are mostly exempt from the salary cap, along with Henry and Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel.

Marquez joined Barcelona from French Ligue 1 side Monaco in 2003 and has won four Spanish league titles and two European Champions League crowns.

"I am leaving because maybe last season I didn't get so much playing time and that's what I am looking for," said Marquez, who started only seven league games in the 2009-10 campaign.

"I would like to have retired here (at Barca) but conditions are not always how you would prefer them to be."

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