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 By Tom Marshall

Cuauhtemoc Blanco says he fears for his life, denies Cuernavaca murder link

Cuauhtemoc Blanco became the mayor of Cuernavaca in 2015.

Former Mexico international Cuauhtemoc Blanco said he fears for his and his family's safety after being linked to a murder in the town of Cuernavaca, of which he is currently mayor.

Blanco was returning to Cuernavaca on Tuesday and talked to the media for the first time since he was accused of paying a hit-man to kill businessman Juan Manuel Garcia Bejarano back on April 6. The Mexico legend has denied the allegations.

"Yes, I am afraid, afraid for my life, for my family but I am staying here. I am staying here. If anything, this [incident] gives me strength to continue to fight the injustices because this is really an aberration and a sickness. Why did they do this? You all should be asking, why did they do this?"

Since he was elected in June 2015, 44-year-old Blanco's time as mayor of Cuernavaca has been dogged by problems, but this latest report is the most serious yet.

Garcia was gunned down during a procession to begin the town's annual fair and the alleged killer accused Blanco of ordering the murder. There had been a report Blanco would be arrested.

Blanco has been involved in an ongoing spat with Morelos state governor Graco Ramirez, who belongs to a rival political party. Ramirez claimed recently that the killer was involved with cartels.

"I can tell you with absolute responsibility that the man [who carried out the killing at] the procession is detained. He came from Jalisco [state] to kill him, he's from a cartel and [Garcia] was involved in similar themes," said Ramirez in a talk with students from the University of Southern California.

Despite the scandals, Blanco -- who was spotted at a Chicago Cubs baseball game last week -- has vowed to not back down or take a break and will continue in politics.

"I'm in the fray," Blanco said. "I can't leave now, because it would be letting the people down. My challenge is to keeping moving forward and that is a very strong challenge for me.

The former Club America player retired in April 2015 and announced his intention to get into politics. He made a total of 120 appearances for El Tri, scoring 39 goals.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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