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Josef Martínez hoping to see out his career with Atlanta United – The Athletic

Josef Martínez doesn’t see himself playing for any other club in Major League Soccer than Atlanta United. The 2018 MLS most valuable player and golden boot winner has a contract with Atlanta until 2023. After a 12-goal season in 2021 coming off a knee injury, Martínez is keen to extend his current deal through 2026 and remain in the city where he has risen to stardom. 

After seriously considering a move away from Atlanta, which followed the decline of his relationship with former manager Gabriel Heinze last summer, Martínez reiterated his commitment to the club during an exclusive interview with The Athletic on Thursday night. Martínez spoke about his dream of becoming a legend in sports-mad Atlanta and his budding relationship with Atlanta head coach Gonzalo Pineda. 

“Obviously I want to hang up my boots (in Atlanta),” Martínez said. “But I won’t play for free. Everyone knows that. You can’t give away your work. I want to renew (my contract) and end my career here. That’s what I want.” 

After suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2020, Martínez returned to action last season and led Atlanta United in goals. In the beginning stages of his rehabilitation, Martínez feared that his career was over, but he proved that even without the sharpness and vigor that had established him as one of the league’s all-time great scorers, the 28-year-old Venezuelan was virtually irreplaceable as Atlanta clawed their way into the playoffs. He’s an elite MLS striker and after five seasons in the league, Martínez’s influence has extended beyond the Mercedes Benz Stadium turf.

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