Mexico national captain and former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez has been sanctioned for an alleged connection to a drug trafficking organisation.
The 38-year-old was among 21 people and 42 organisations accused by the United States treasury department for sanctions of having links to Raul Flores Hernandez, an alleged drug trafficker.
Marquez spent seven seasons at the Camp Nou between 2003 and 2010, making 240 appearances for the club and winning two Champions League titles in a hugely successful spell.
However, the legendary defender went public later to deny all allegations levelled at him: “Today several news outlets reported that I am part of an investigation conducted by the US Treasury Department for alleged ties to criminal organization.
“I categorically deny any type of relation with this organisation and with what has been stated across news reports.
“I understand the legal situation which I find myself, and I will immediately work on clarifying the facts alongside my team of attorneys.
“I repeat I have never participated in any of these organisations that have been mentioned in these reports, and want to repeat my duty to assist the various authorities and corresponding governments in a punctual manner.
"I also want to ask for respect for my family and towards my situation, because it is not a normal situation – it is difficult and I ask for as much respect as possible.
"I also thank those who have sent me messages of support; I know that many people are with me and I will not disappoint them.
"Just as I have approached my professional career, today is my most difficult challenge. I will try to clear this up when I can and be the Rafa Marquez everyone knows."