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Martinez: Atlanta United is my Real Madrid or Barcelona


Josef Martinez has made a huge splash in Major League Soccer over his two years with Atlanta United. After a record-breaking 2018 which also saw the Venezuelan Men’s National Team forward lift MLS Cup, Martinez praised his current club with high regards.

After signing a five-year extension on Wednesday to remain with the Five Stripes, Martinez had some strong words in regards to his team.

“In Venezuela, they thing everyone needs to play at Real Madrid or Barcelona. Well, this is my Real Madrid or my Barcelona,” said Martinez at a press conference.

After scoring 19 goals in 20 matches during his first season in Atlanta, Martinez followed that up with an even-bigger haul in 2018. He won Major League Soccer’s Golden Boot with 31 goals, breaking the single-season league record by four tallies. Martinez also lifted the MLS MVP as well as the MLS Cup MVP as he scored in a 2-0 finals win over Portland last December.

Now with many awards and a league title under his belt, Martinez will look to lead the Five Stripes in several competitions this season. It begins on February when Atlanta faces Herediano in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16.


  1. For all those who want to see MLS become a more highly respected league, isn’t it a good thing when top young international players are willing to simply stay in it and play in it?

    Especially for players from Central and South America, MLS offers more organization, more predictability, better living conditions, less corruption, less crime. Living in the US offers more stability, comfort, education, opportunities, for their families, their children. What’s not to like? Why shouldn’t we keep on attracting talent from all around the Americas, in order to continue improving the standard of play in the league? Venezuelans could be going to the Mexican or Argentinean or Brazilian leagues or wherever; but if some of the best choose to come here, and if we can support them and even offer them a path to citizenship, during an absolutely horrific period in their own country, why should we not reach out?

    “Europe” is a dream for many players, but also a dead end for some. It seems perfectly rational to me for young Mr. Martínez to recognize that he already has a good thing here, and to be patient about whether anything else develops across the pond, while in the meantime continuing to rake in salary and recognition. He’s not stupid, and who knows, maybe he’s also even loyal to the club and the city that has brought him considerable success and happiness so far. Is it too much to imagine that he’s simply a honorable, upstanding person? Or at least, a rational person who can appreciate the benefits of being quite a big fish even in a slightly smaller pond.

  2. He’s probably being realistic- I bet he didn’t get the interest from big clubs out there that he was hoping for- so it just wasn’t on the table to move to a “big club”. But he also knows that if he keeps performing so well, the interest will come, so there’s no loss in saying what he’s saying now. It’s a win/win regardless of the scenario that unfolds.

  3. I get the enthusiasm and that he’s getting more money than he ever imagined coming from Venezuela. And I’m sure he’s making much more than people playing in Venezuela, but I mean this statement literally says “I’m happy to be complacent”. And that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong being comfortable and sticking with what you know; worked out for Landon.

    But there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to be the best and play for the best and always be looking to getting into a bigger league. Again, nothing wrong with what he said, I just see it as him not having motivation to use MLS as a stepping stone (which is fine, but that’s all this league is for young talent; a stepping stone to better leagues, teams, competition, money)


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