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 By Tom Marshall

Rafa Marquez to be 'sporting president' at Liga MX club Atlas

Recently retired Mexico international Rafa Marquez will become a director at Liga MX club Atlas, club president Gustavo Guzman has confirmed.

Marquez played for Mexico at Russia 2018 in his fifth World Cup, despite being on the United States Treasury Department blacklist for links to a drug cartel, and will now take up a role at his first club.

"After Mexico went out [of the World Cup], he is taking some days off and in a couple of weeks he will become part of the organization as a director," Guzman told ESPN's Ivan Canada. "He will be like the sporting president, who is in charge of the sporting side of all the teams, not only the first team."

Marquez was widely expected to continue in the game and was helping to set up the Mexican footballers association before the 39-year-old's name appeared on the U.S. blacklist last August.

The former Barcelona defender featured in three of Mexico's four World Cup matches in Russia and became the first player in history to captain a side at five World Cups.

Mexico's midfielder Rafael Marquez warms up
Rafa Marquez will remain with Atlas as a director.

Guzman said Marquez will bring playing experience to his role at Atlas, but he will need to learn to ropes off the field.

"Rafa comes in with the mission and commitment to learn," said the Atlas president. "He's going to integrate into a position of a lot of responsibility just weeks after finishing as a footballer.

"However, he's a person with a lot of qualities, which we have to make the most of, above all in leadership and group management."

"He is delighted, he's keen to do it and we'll make it official when he returns, which could be between matchday one and two [of the new season]."

Atlas kicks off its 2018 Apertura campaign at home to Queretaro on July 20, before traveling to face Club America the following Saturday.

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