Faustino Marcos Alberto Rojo known simply as Marcos Rojo ([ˈmaɾkos ˈroxo]; born 20 March 1990) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Manchester United and the Argentina national team as a defender.
He began his career at local club Estudiantes de La Plata, where he won the Copa Libertadores in 2009 and played in the Club World Cup Final later that year. After a short spell with Spartak Moscow he joined Sporting CP in 2012, and transferred to Manchester United for £16 million two years later.
Rojo made his first appearance for Argentina at senior level in 2011 and has since earned over 48 caps. He was part of their side which reached the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final, and was the only Argentine included in the Castrol Performance Index Team of the Tournament.
In 2009, he was promoted to the club’s main team, after signing his first professional contract. He spent three years with the club, making 43 appearances and scoring three goals for the team. He played in the 2009 FIFA Club World Cup Final, coming on for extra time as Estudiantes lost 2–1 to FC Barcelona in Dubai.
During his time at Estudiantes, Rojo won a Copa Libertadores and an Argentine Primera Division title. The defender spent most matches at left back and developed a reputation as a capable attacker, scoring his first goal in a 2–1 defeat against LDU Quito in the 2010 Recopa Sudamericana.
In December 2010, Rojo signed a five-year contract with Spartak Moscow. He scored his only goal for Spartak on 20 April 2011, netting the opening goal of a 2−1 defeat of Krasnodar in the quarter-finals of the Russian Cup.
In July 2012, Rojo moved from Spartak Moscow to Sporting Lisbon for £3.5 million, signing a four-year contract. Rojo made his league debut for Sporting on 19 August 2012, playing the entire match and receiving a yellow card in a 0−0 draw with Vitória. He received his first red card for Sporting in a league match against FC Porto on 7 October 2012, picking up two cautions within three minutes, as Sporting fell to a 2−0 defeat. He scored his first goal for Sporting on 28 April 2013, netting the winner against Nacional. Rojo played mostly at centre-back in his first season in Portugal, occasionally at left-back, as the team had a comparatively bad season, finishing 7th in the league.
In the second league match of the 2013–14 season, Rojo scored his first goal of the season, netting Sporting's second goal in their 4−0 win over Académica. On 19 April 2014, Rojo was sent off in a Primeira Liga match against C.F. Os Belenenses, but Sporting held on for a 1−0 win. In an improved season, he contributed six goals as Sporting finished as runners-up.
On 13 August 2014, it was announced that Rojo was being disciplined by his club over his refusal to train after handing in a transfer request to force through a move to Manchester United. Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho later alleged that third-party owners of Rojo who were not representatives of Manchester United had pressured his club into selling the player.
On 19 August 2014, an agreement to sell Rojo for €20 million (£16 million) was announced by both Sporting and Manchester United. The next day, United announced that they had signed him on a five-year contract, with Nani moving to Sporting on a season-long loan. Rojo stated that it was a 'dream' come true to play with Manchester United.
Rojo missed three matches for United due to difficulties in gaining a work permit, because of pending criminal charges in Argentina, where he is alleged to have had an altercation with a neighbour in 2010. On 4 September, he was granted a work permit by the UK Border Agency to work in England. Ten days later he made his debut at Old Trafford as United won for the first time in the season, playing the entirety of the 4–0 victory over Queens Park Rangers. Rojo was stretchered off in United's 1–0 defeat in the Manchester derby on 2 November, obtaining shoulder damage from a tackle on Manchester City's Martín Demichelis. It was later confirmed that he had dislocated his shoulder, adding to United's defensive injuries alongside Jonny Evans and Phil Jones. On 3 February 2015, Rojo scored his first goal for United, heading a ball played by Robin van Persie for the second goal of a 3–0 win over Cambridge United in an FA Cup fourth round replay.
During Manchester United's 2015 pre-season tour of North America, Rojo was expected to join up with the rest of the squad following an extended break granted after competing for Argentina in the Copa America. However, passport issues reportedly caused Rojo to miss pre-season tour entirely, and the matter was said to have "angered" manager Louis van Gaal. Rojo was resultantly fined £140,000 for failing to join up with the rest of the squad on time, and Van Gaal offered Rojo to AS Monaco as part of a deal to bring Anthony Martial to Old Trafford, a deal stopped by Rojo's agent Jorge Mendes.
Rojo was first capped on 9 February 2011 in a 2–1 friendly victory against Portugal at the Stade de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland. Later that year he was included in Argentina's squad as they hosted the 2011 Copa América, and played the opening match on 2 July, a 1–1 draw against Bolivia. Javier Zanetti replaced him at left back for the rest of the tournament as Argentina reached the quarter-finals.
In June 2014, Rojo was named in Argentina's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He made his FIFA World Cup debut in their 2–1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Maracanã, playing the full match in defence. In the team's third group match, Rojo scored his first international goal, the winner in a 3–2 victory against Nigeria. The country reached the final before losing to Germany, and Rojo was the only Argentinean named in the Castrol Index Top 11 for the tournament.
Rojo was selected by coach Gerardo Martino for the 2015 Copa América. At the end of Argentina's goalless quarter-final against Colombia in Viña del Mar, Rojo missed in the penalty shootout but his team advanced nonetheless. On 30 June, he opened the scoring in a 6–1 semi-final defeat of Paraguay which put Argentina into the final. He played the entirety of the decisive match against the hosts at the Estadio Nacional de Chile, which Argentina lost on a penalty shootout after a goalless draw.
Style of play
According to Four Four Two, Rojo was more comfortable at left-back rather than centre-back in his first season at Sporting, due to a number of positional errors and mistimed tackles; in his second season, his speed helped him in defence. They also attributed a good aerial threat to him, while noting that disciplinary problems remained.
In addition to his usual positions at centre-back and left-back, Rojo can play as a winger. On signing for Manchester United, it was theorised that he could feature as a wing-back in Louis van Gaal's preferred 3-5-2 formation.
Rojo is married to Eugenia Lusardo, a lingerie model based in Lisbon. They have a daughter.
He has a number of tattoos, including the English words "Pride" and "Glory" on each thigh.
In December 2014, Rojo had an affair with a woman he had met at a night club. He accused her of blackmail and took out an injunction to stop newspapers publishing his name in the story. The injunction on his name was lifted in April 2015 due to concerns that other footballers could be suspected of the affair, but it remains in place to prevent the release of images of Rojo.
- As of 21 May 2016.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Estudiantes LP||2008–09||Primera División||6||1||0||0||—||1||0||—||7||1|
|Spartak Moscow||2010||Russian Premier League||0||0||2||1||—||5||0||0||0||7||1|
|2011–12||Russian Premier League||8||0||1||0||—||1||0||0||0||10||0|
|Sporting CP||2012–13||Primeira Liga||24||1||0||0||2||0||7||0||—||33||1|
|Manchester United||2014–15||Premier League||22||0||3||1||0||0||—||—||25||1|
- Argentina – Copa Argentina; Russia – Russian Cup; Portugal – Taça de Portugal; England – FA Cup
- Portugal – Taça da Liga; England – League Cup
- Appearance(s) in the Copa Libertadores.
- Five appearance in the Copa Libertadores, one appearance in the Copa Sudamericana.
- Appearance in the FIFA Club World Cup.
- Appearances in the Recopa Sudamericana.
- Appearance(s) in the UEFA Europa League.
- As of match played 6 September 2016.
|Argentina national team|
- Estudiantes de La Plata
- Manchester United