Former footballer Rafael Marquez accused of drug cartel link
Life after football is no walk in the park. After a long playing career, there are a finite number of jobs in the industry as pundits, agents, club directors etc. In face most retired players usually divert from the sports scene and turn to business; likes of Robbie Fowler, Louis Saha and Adriano traded the field for the boardroom and have started to build impressive portfolios. For ex-Mexico captain Rafael Marquez, things have gone a little differently.
The former Barcelona and Monaco defender - the two-time champions league winner - has been named among 22 people sanctioned by the US Treasury with regards to an alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
OFAC Kingpin action targets 22 Mexican Nationals & 43 entities—the largest Kingpin designation against a Mexican drug network pic.twitter.com/RaGfecYahf— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) August 9, 2017
A cartel headed by Raul Flores Hernandez, a significant foreign narcotics trafficker, has been investigated for multiple years before the statement above was released on Wednesday.
Unlike is fellow former players, it seems 38-year-old Mexican, who represented his country in four World Cup campaigns, decided that life after football was best not spent in boardrooms.
‘Rafa’, who according to a statement had two individuals acting on his behalf, has had financial involvements with the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation gang, named the single largest designation of a drug trafficking organisation ever by the U.S. Treasury Department.
The defender denied all accusations shortly after the statement was released, telling a news conference on Wednesday evening:
"I categorically deny any type of relation with this organization and with what has been stated in several news reports. I understand the legal situation that I find myself in, and I will immediately work on clearing up the facts alongside my team of attorneys. I also want to ask for respect for my family and towards my situation, because it is not a normal situation, it is a difficult situation and I ask for as much respect as possible."
So, what does the future hold for the footballing legend? Jail time? Acquittal? Maybe, a future as a producer on a future season of Netflix’s Narcos?