Mexico World Cup star Rafael Marquez isn’t allowed to drink the same water as his team-mates or even win the Budweiser Man of the Match award.
That is, according to the New York Times, who claim the former Barcelona star, 39, is not permitted to have anything to do with US companies or individuals.
Marquez is reportedly on the United States Treasury Department’s blacklist – for “helping launder money for drug cartels”, says the NY Times.
That means Marquez is forced to drink different water to his team-mates because the Powerade bottles are owned by US company Coca-Cola, distance himself from the Budweiser link and even avoid sponsors’ logos in team photos.
In fact, the Mexican defender – playing in his fifth World Cup – has agreed to not be paid… as it may get complicated with the banks, says the report.
Marquez allegedly has his movements tracked and his day-to-day life carefully scrutinised to ensure he has no American connections whatsoever.
The long-serving defender is reported to have been on the US blacklist since August 2017 – even though he has never been criminally charged.
Marquez – as well as a number of businesses linked to him – are accused of being mere fronts for a leading suspect in a drug-trafficking operation; Raul Flores Hernandez. Marquez denies all accusations.
Ever since last August, Marquez has seen his assets in the USA frozen – despite the player’s insistence he has absolutely no link to Hernandez whatsoever.
Fifa have had their say on the bizarre situation, claiming: “We are aware of the situation concerning the player Rafael Marquez and we are in regular contact with the Mexican Football Association.”