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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Rafa Marquez joining Hellas Verona

Mexico captain Rafa Marquez is off to Italy to join Hellas Verona, his former club Leon confirmed on Monday.

Italian media reports the 35-year-old defender has penned a one-year deal at Verona, with a second-year option.

In his first year playing in Mexico since 1999, Marquez helped Leon win back-to-back Liga MX titles in December and May.

He then guided Mexico to the World Cup knockout stage, even scoring against Croatia.

Leon president Jesus Martinez wished the former Barcelona man well in a statement on Twitter, and also confirmed the moved on ESPN's Futbol Picante show.

"The club wants to thank Rafael Marquez for his dedication and professionalism during his stay at the club, where two league titles were won, and the participation at the Copa Libertadores and CONCACAF Champions League," Martinez wrote.

"We wish the best success with his new team, Italian side Hellas Verona."

Marquez later thanked the Leon fans, saying "I'll keep you forever in my heart."

Marquez, who last played in Europe in 2010, will join some other aging players at Verona this season, most notably 37-year-old Luca Toni and 35-year-old Alessandro Agostini.

Verona, who finished 10th in Serie A last season, also boosted their back line on Monday by securing full-back Antonio Luna on a season-long loan from Aston Villa.

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