Atlanta United today announced it has completed the permanent transfer of forward Josef Martinez and the Designated Player is under a multi-year contract. Martinez originally joined Atlanta on loan from Torino FC in February.
“The loan deal had an option to make the transfer permanent which we have now triggered as planned,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said. “Josef has been a fantastic addition to our club and it’s clear he has the ability to continuing making an impact in our league.”
Martinez has already been a difference maker for Atlanta, scoring five times in the club’s first three regular season games. He also added a goal in each of Atlanta’s four preseason matches. After registering the league’s first hat-trick of the season against Minnesota United on March 12, Martinez was voted MLS Player of the Week for Week 2. Although just three weeks into the season, Martinez leads MLS in goals (5), shots (15) and multi-goal games (2). He has also scored more goals than 16 teams in the league. Martinez has since joined the Venezuelan National Team for key 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches taking place from March 23-28.
Prior to joining Atlanta United, Martinez appeared in more than 100 matches spread across the first divisions of Venezuela, Switzerland and Italy. He has also been capped by the Venezuelan National Team 37 times and has scored nine goals since making his debut in 2011.
The forward originally made his professional debut with Caracas FC of Venezuela’s Primera Division in 2010. Martinez then transferred to Young Boys of the Swiss Super League in 2012. After making 21 combined appearances over two seasons with the club, he was loaned to fellow Swiss club FC Thun, where he scored eight goals in 18 games in the 2013-14 season. Martinez was then recalled by Young Boys for the duration of the season where he scored twice and added four assists over 18 matches. In the summer of 2014, Martinez transferred to Torino, where he scored 13 goals and had six assists in 76 combined appearances.
Internationally, Martinez made his Venezuelan National Team debut on Aug. 7, 2011 in a friendly against El Salvador. Since then he has represented La Vinotinto in World Cup Qualification matches for 2014 Brazil and 2018 Russia, and Copa America 2015 and Copa America Centenario 2016. At the Copa America Centenario, Martinez scored the game-winner against Jamaica in a group stage match at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 5, 2016. The strike helped Venezuela advance to the knockout round after finishing second in Group C, behind Argentina. In 16 World Cup Qualifying matches he has scored five goals.