Mexico's coach Juan Carlos Osorio (L) speaks with defender Rafael Marquez (R) during a training session at the Novogorsk training centre outside Moscow on June 19, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ
Mexico's coach Juan Carlos Osorio (L) speaks with defender Rafael Marquez (R) during a training session at the Novogorsk training centre outside Moscow on June 19, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ

Hidden text reveals football outcast

RAFA Marquez's 74th-minute entry during Mexico's 1-0 win against Germany was a historic moment in one of his country's most memorable matches.

By appearing in his fifth World Cup, the 39-year-old joined countryman Antonio Carbajal, Italy's Gianluigi Buffon and Germany's Lothar Matthaus by achieving the mark of longevity.

A beloved figure in his homeland and recognised as Mexico's greatest defender, Marquez finds himself in an unfamiliar position in Russia because of a personal scandal that dates back to August last year.

It was then the United States Treasury Department listed the national captain among 22 people it claimed were acting as a front for Mexican drug kingpin Raul Flores Hernandez.

Despite strongly denying the allegations, Marquez had all of his assets in the US frozen - he bought a $6.4 million mansion in Chelsea while playing for the New York Red Bulls - and has been forced to work around strict rules which forbid any US companies from being connected to him.

It's required careful attention to detail in Russia given the desire of major brands to be connected to the world's biggest sporting event.

Onlookers at Mexican training sessions have noted Marquez wearing a special jersey that has the Coca-Cola logo removed and he's also reportedly not allowed to share the drink bottles containing Powerade with his teammates.

The New York Times reported the Mexican team had to plan its flights around not using US carriers and there is no chance he will win a Man of the Match award for any game he plays in, because it's sponsored by Budweiser.

FIFA has also been rigid in its control of Marquez's interviews, preventing them from occurring near any branding and ensuring translators are not US nationals.

Marquez has been labelled the "most hated man in US soccer" after a string of controversies in Mexico-US games.

He was red carded in Mexico's round of 16 defeat against the Americans at the 2002 World Cup after kicking and headbutting an opponent and was sent off again in qualifying in 2009 when he kicked goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Raul Flores Hernandez is a suspected drug trafficker who maintains "strategic alliances" with Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación.



Council takes stand on mining in the Clarence

Premium Content Council takes stand on mining in the Clarence

What started as a chance to hear about mining has turned into a statement

Clarence Village celebrates golden anniversary

Premium Content Clarence Village celebrates golden anniversary

‘It’s a source of great pride for our whole team and our residents.’

Which NRL club is coming to Coffs Harbour?

Premium Content Which NRL club is coming to Coffs Harbour?

C.ex Stadium to host first premiership match in huge coup for region