Today, Atlanta United bolstered its already lethal attack and locked up its third and final Designated Player spot as the club announced the signing of 23-year-old forward Josef Martinez from Serie A side Torino in Italy.
Fast, technical, and an untiring work horse, Martinez is quite the danger man up front. With bountiful professional experience both in South America and Europe, not to mention his recent success at the international level, the young Venezuelan will add yet another dimension to Atlanta United’s inaugural roster.
“What brought me to the club is the quality of players, the coaching staff and the massive project that they’ve started, not only its present state but its long-term future and potential,” Martinez said Wednesday night through a translator.
Beginning at a top tier professional club from year one is an absolute rarity, and the world-class efforts that Atlanta has already made confirmed his interest.
“I was really happy and excited when I first heard that I had a chance to be part of this club,” he said. “It’s a new team, a new project, truly a unique opportunity. I want to help Atlanta United establish its name in Major League Soccer and in the world, and I’m ready to get the season started with my new team.”
While contemplating a move to MLS, Martinez found himself captivated by the league’s infrastructure, the facilities, and the stadiums in particular.
“I already had the chance to play in some of them in Copa América last summer,” said Martinez. “It was a great tournament, a beautiful country, and the truth is I am really happy to be here. I hope to help Atlanta United as the club starts its first year and help MLS grow even more.”
When asked about what he’ll bring to the Atlanta expansion club, Martinez said, “I can promise hard work and hopefully that leads to a lot of goals and more importantly many wins. The happiness of the fans and the club is the most important thing.”
The 23-year-old Venezuelan forward has proven that he can perform and score on the big stage as he currently sits fourth in the leading goal scorer table for 2018 CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying with five goals.
Only time will tell whether he’ll continue his goal scoring antics or not, but we can be sure of one fact, his work ethic and work rate will not be an issue. Martinez has made it clear that he’s here to make an impact.
“I hope that we can accomplish a lot this year, do really well for the fans, for the team, for the city, and ultimately win a championship.”