Mexico legend Marquez out as Atlas director

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Mexico legend Rafa Marquez is out as Atlas sporting director following the takeover of the Liga MX club by Orlegi Sports.

Marquez announced his departure in a statement, thanking fans and confirming that he'll continue to work in the game.

"My desires in this moment are to continue preparing myself in different areas of this sport, which I'm passionate about and has given me so much," read the statement.

Orlegi Sports president Alejandro Irarragorri suggested that Marquez's ideas didn't fit in with those of the new owners, and the two parted ways amicably, leaving the door open to a return.

"What we are looking for are skills and a preparation that Rafa agrees he doesn't have," said Irarragorri in a news conference Wednesday. "We'll look to support him in that preparation however we can because he has sporting knowledge that no else can match."

Irarragorri -- whose Orlegi Sports also owns Santos Laguna -- added there will be no quick-fix at relegation-threatened Atlas, a club without a league title since 1951, but that improving the structure, infrastructure and long-term process will be key.

"Those stories of the rich guy buying a team and pouring money in are over, we have to be clear," said Irarragorri, stressing later: "Atlas have great potential, we have to build it up and develop it."

Irarragorri also stated that Orlegi Sports came close to buying a European club, with reports in the UK suggesting it could've been Newcastle United.

Marquez lasted less than a year in the job as Atlas' sporting director and was attempting to build it along the lines of his former club Barcelona.

The former defender became the first player to captain a team at five separate World Cups in Russia, although his inclusion came after a period of uncertainty after he was sanctioned by the U.S. government for alleged drug trafficking ties back in August 2017.