Marquez close to full fitness

Barca defender eyes first-team return

Marquez: Bouncing back

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Rafael Marquez is hoping to make his return to action with Barcelona during the club's upcoming trip to the USA.

The Mexico international has been sidelined since picking up a knee injury during the first leg of Barca's UEFA Champions League semi-final against Chelsea in April.

The severity of the problem forced Marquez to undergo surgery, forcing him out of a record-breaking end of season run-in by his team-mates.

Barca claimed an unprecedented Treble last term, with the Primera Liga title and Cope del Rey crown added to European glory.

Marquez admits to feeling disappointed at missing out on such an achievement, but is delighted to be closing in on full fitness ahead of the new campaign.

"I feel very well, happy to return. I'm still not with the squad, but we are working towards me being part of the group in the United States and to be at 100 per cent," Marquez told Barca TV.

Helpless

"Without doubt I felt helpless (at the end of last season) because I was out of such important games, but at the same time I felt a great happiness. I thank my team-mates for obtaining these victories.

"I hope that next season I can always be with the squad."

Marquez, who turned 30 in February, has also revealed that he would welcome the opportunity to see out his career at Camp Nou.

He joined the Catalan giants from Monaco in 2003 and claims he is unfazed by the fact that his current deal is set to expire at the end of the 2009/10 campaign.

"It would be my wish to retire at Barca," he added.

"I'm very calm with regards the contract renewal. I know that we will arrive at an agreement, so it's only a question of time."