Rafael Márquez, who has embarked on an adventure away from Mexican soccer, knows the ins and outs of the system very well. He was captain of El Tri during five World Cups as a player and also had a brief stint as a manager of Atlas. He is now technical director of Barcelona Athletic, the FC Barcelona affiliate. In line with his steps as a player, Kaiser has understood that the best thing for his career is to develop in European soccer.

And from there he has launched some criticisms to the national football, which, in reality, are a kind of relief for him. Since in those latitudes they do not see what happens here, Márquez does not have to talk about what happens in his country. “Sincerely, there is no interest in Mexican soccer. It does spare me the explanations of how it works. It is the reality: there is little interest from people from Europe. That’s why there are few Mexican players here when perhaps there should be more,” he said in an interview with ESPN.

Márquez is clear: in Europe the only American soccer they tune in to is that of Brazil or Argentina. And it’s normal, because although the level of those championships can’t compare to European soccer either, there are many diamonds in the rough that neither teams nor fans want to ignore. “It’s not a league or a market (Mexico) that interests people from Europe. They are interested in the Brazilian or Argentine market. I have already talked about it: as long as the way Mexican soccer is organized doesn’t change, it will be difficult for them to look at it,” he said.

Mexican soccer has done everything to distance itself from the international scene. For seven years it stopped participating in the Copa Libertadores, a unique showcase for Mexican players. This is recognized by Márquez, who played in the tournament with León in 2014. “It was something very important to be able to have the experience of playing with important teams in South America. It gives us a lot of competition, a lot of hierarchy, because it was not easy to play against Mexican teams. It served us as experience and it was important for the player, for the young players, to experience what it is like to play in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru.”

As Márquez stated: it is even better that Mexican soccer is not known elsewhere. Because it is true and it is well known that it is not seen in Europe, but in reality it is not attractive for any other public than the Mexican public (either those living in Mexico or in the United States). In the rest of the continent, Liga MX only becomes interesting because there are players from their countries here. And sometimes not even that: on many occasions, for young South Americans, coming to Mexican soccer is equivalent to hindering their careers.

A league that can compete economically (the second highest-spending competition in the world in the last winter transfer market), a national team that can make its coach the fifth highest paid in the world, and a whole ecosystem that vaunts the teams as if they were world-class -players who could be starters in any team in the world and clubs that ask nothing of those in Europe-. All this so that the only market that is really interested in Mexican soccer is… the Mexican market.

Javier Aguirre also said it in 2021 for TUDN: “After 12 seasons in Spain, I would tell you with sadness that we do not promote ourselves well. Nobody watches Mexican soccer. There are platforms and there is history; soccer people do, but the average fan, he doesn’t see it”. And not only in Europe. Darío Benedetto, former player of América and Tijuana, said in 2017 on Argentine radio that the Clásico Nacional was not even 50% of a Boca vs. River. Perhaps he said it to look good for his team, Boca, but he was not wrong and was even generous with the percentage.

Although among the supposed plans of Liga MX is the expansion to Europe, to attract the attention of the fans there, as Mikel Arriola said last year, nothing would be better than staying away: what a shame that they see everything that happens here, that twelve teams (and even if there were only eight) can be champions, that everything is done to encourage mediocrity and, not to go that far, that the games are a torture. It is better that nobody finds out about it.

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