Atlas hopes Marquez can ‘rejoin team’ after US allegations

Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez Alvarez speaks during a press conference to deny accusations of ties to drug trafficking, at Atlas Football Club in Guadalajara, Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017. Marquez and a well-known band leader are among 22 people sanctioned for alleged ties to a drug trafficking organization, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday. (AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexico’s national soccer team and club Atlas have issued cautious statements backing embattled star Rafael Marquez but also apparently distancing themselves somewhat after he was among 22 people sanctioned by the U.S. government for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas calls Marquez an ”exemplary” player and wishes him well. It says it hopes for ”a resolution that allows our captain to rejoin the team,” but does not give further details.

Marquez did not practice with the club for a second straight day Thursday.

The national team said Marquez has represented ”El Tri” in a dignified fashion for two decades and it trusts ”he will clear up his situation with authorities.”

The 38-year-old is a former defender for Barcelona and New York Red Bulls. On Wednesday he denied having any drug ties.