Like Messi, size shouldn't hinder Real Betis' Diego Lainez - Rafa Marquez
Former Barcelona defender Rafa Marquez is backing fellow Mexican Diego Lainez to succeed at Real Betis despite his slight frame, questioning whether Lionel Messi's size has been an impediment to the Argentine.
Lainez signed for Betis from Club America last weekend and a lot is expected from a player projected to be a future El Tri star.
"We've got to give him time and be patient," the 39-year-old Marquez said in an interview with ESPN. "Height? Ask Leo Messi, I don't think [it's an issue]. Without comparing [Lainez to Messi], they are the type of player that can make a difference, they are destabilizing."
Marquez is the only player in history to captain a team at five World Cups and "El Kaiser" had some advice for incoming Mexico coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino.
"He's got the experience of being in important teams and national teams," said Marquez. "I think he has the record to be able to do a good job with the national team. "
"He'll have to work as he has, trying not to be influenced by other motives and believing in what has got him here [with El Tri].
"The role of the coach is very important in the media. People get so passionate and the pressure so great that on occasion you can let it influence you."
Martino is likely to initiate a gradual generational change following Mexico's round-of-16 exit at last summer's World Cup, but Marquez believes the established El Tri players in Europe deserve the chance to not be immediately excluded.
"We have to be guided by those that have more experience, are in better form and can keep contributing to the national team, those are the most important [issues]," stated Marquez. "Then come players in Mexico that are playing well and can add positives."
Marquez was named among 22 people sanctioned by the U.S. government for alleged drug trafficking ties back in August 2017 and his future as a player or even within the game was in serious doubt, with his accounts frozen and access to his money restricted.
The Michoacan native, who retired at the end of Russia 2018, said the experience helped him learn who his friends are.
"I am very thankful to the few friends that I have left," he said.
Marquez's Atlas is currently in eighth position in the Liga MX's 2018 Clausura, with one win and one loss from the first two games of the season.