Atlanta United today announced it has acquired Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez from Club Atlético River Plate of the Argentine Superleague. A 25-year-old attacking midfielder who was named the 2018 South American Footballer of the Year, Martinez will join the club pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa. He will be introduced to the media during a formal press conference on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground at 10:00 a.m.
“We’re excited to announce we’ve secured Gonzalo to a long-term contract with our club,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “Recently named as the best player in South America in 2018, Gonzalo is an attacking player who can play wide or centrally. His abilities complement our style of play and we expect him to make a smooth transition to MLS.”
Martínez made his professional debut in 2011 with Huracán of the Argentine Primera B Nacional League, the second division in Argentina. He made 97 appearances and scored 10 goals from 2011-2015. During his time at Huracán, Martínez helped the team win the 2013-14 Copa Argentina and secure promotion to the Argentine Superliga in 2014-15. The attacking midfielder then transferred to River Plate in January 2015, where he went on to make 167 appearances in all competitions, while scoring a total of 33 goals. Martínez was recently named the 2018 Rey del Futbol de America, an annual award voted by journalists that is given to the top player in South America. Since joining River Plate, Martínez has won two Copa Libertadores (2015, 2018), two Copa Argentina’s (2015-16, 2016-17) and a Supercopa Argentina (2017).
The attacking midfielder was a key part of River Plate’s run to the 2018 Copa Libertadores title, South America’s top international club competition, and scored the final goal in River Plate’s 3-1 victory in Leg 2 against rivals Boca Juniors to win the final 5-3 on aggregate on Dec. 10 to secure a place in the FIFA Club World Cup. In the semifinal second leg, Martínez stepped up in stoppage time to score a penalty kick to send River Plate past Brazilian side Gremio. He scored four goals in his debut season with River Plate in 2015, then had a breakout season in 2016-17. The attacking midfielder made 28 appearances and scored seven goals. He followed that up with six goals in 21 appearances the following season, which earned him his first call-up to the Argentine senior national team. This season, Martínez made seven appearances and scored two goals in 2018-2019 Argentine Superleague action.
“I’m very excited to come to Major League Soccer and to join Atlanta United,” Martínez said. “The club has shown a lot of trust in me and I’m looking forward to working with Frank de Boer and my teammates to continue making history at the club.”
Martínez made his professional debut with Huracán in 2011-12 and made 12 appearances during that campaign. In the following two seasons, the midfielder became a main fixture for the club, wearing the No. 10 jersey and playing in 57 matches combined. Martínez scored his first professional goal on September 18, 2013 for Huracán in a Primera B Nacional contest. During Huracán’s promotion season in 2014-15, Martinez scored four goals in 21 appearances, including a stretch of three-straight matches with a goal in October of that year to help his side secure a return to the Argentine Superliga.
Internationally, Martínez has made two appearances with Argentina’s senior national team, and scored one goal on his debut on Sept. 8, 2018 in a 3-0 win over Guatemala.
Name: Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Birthdate: June 13, 1993 (age: 25)
Birthplace: Guaymallén, Argentina
Previous Team: River Plate
Transaction: Atlanta United signed Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez as a Designated Player on Jan. 21, 2019.