Mexican Football Federation stands by Marquez amid drug cartel allegations
Mexican football authorities have offered national team captain Rafael Marquez support after he was sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury for his alleged support of a drug trafficking organisation (DTO).
Former Barcelona player Marquez, who led Mexico to this year's Confederations Cup final, was named among 22 people identified as part of an organisation led by Raul Flores Hernandez, but denies any involvement and has pledged to clear his name.
US authorities claimed Marquez and popular musician Julion Alvarez were individuals who "have longstanding relationships with Flores Hernandez, and have acted as front persons for him and his DTO and held assets on their behalf".
But Marquez's character was given a glowing reference by the Mexican Football Federation and Liga MX, who have offered to support their veteran star.
"The Mexican Football Federation and the Liga MX are organisations that have absolute respect for the laws and regulations that support it," read a joint statement.
"We recognise and admire the career of Rafael Marquez, who recently celebrated 20 years as a symbol of the national team of Mexico and who has represented us worthily in multiple international events, always showing a unique leadership and commitment.
"His professionalism and dedication have been undeniable in all the clubs of which he has been part in Mexico and the world. And above all we know that he is an exemplary father.
"We are confident that Rafael Marquez will clarify these accusations and we will support him and the suitable authorities in order to accomplish that goal."
Marquez, 38, is the long-time captain of Mexico's national team and currently plays for Atlas in his homeland.
He spent four years at Monaco between 1999 and 2003, where he won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de la Ligue, before moving to Barca where he added to his haul with four LaLiga titles and two Champions League medals.
A stint in MLS with New York Red Bulls followed, before he returned to Mexico to play for Leon in 2013.