Rafael Márquez leaves Barcelona by mutual agreement

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Mexico defender Rafael Márquez has severed all ties with Barcelona after the Spanish champions agreed to release him from his contract.

The 31-year-old had two more years left on his contract with the Blaugrana, but as happened Thierry Henry a couple of weeks ago, Márquez was allowed to leave earlier.

In a farewell press conference held at the Camp Nou on Saturday, Márquez said: "I spoke with (Barcelona coach Pep) Guardiola and he gave me the opportunity to choose. I feel that here I have finished a stage.

"I could have stayed here and played less, but I have a character - I am ambitious and I want to play. This is the right time to leave.

"But above all, the friends I made here and the love this institution gave me will stay with me. I will be a culé until death."

Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls are favourite to land Márquez, with MLS commissioner Don Garber revealing earlier this week that a move was being mooted.

If the deal with the Red Bulls goes through, Márquez will join former Barça team-mate Henry, who linked up with the MLS club earlier this month.

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