It’s another international break and Brad Guzan, Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez have left Atlanta for the next 10 days or so to represent their national teams in their upcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
As players on Atlanta’s roster earn a call-up with their respective national teams, we, as a fan base, hold our breath as it’s no secret that the international break hasn’t necessarily been good to us. Forwards Martinez and Kenwyne Jones have suffered injuries while on national team duty, which has caused them to miss several matches throughout the season.
While we would want for everyone in our roster to stay home during these breaks, let’s not forget that earning a call-up to represent their nation in either the World Cup, World Cup qualifiers or even an international friendly is an opportunity that not every footballer obtains during their career.
“I love it when our guys play for their national teams, it’s not something that I’ll say no to,” said manager Tata Martino when asked if he would prevent a player from playing with their national team. “Playing for your national team is a great honor.”
Josef Martinez sat down for an interview with Notitarde, a Venezuelan newspaper, last year and was asked on his feelings when he puts on the Venezuela national team jersey and this is what he said:
“I feel proud to represent my country, when the team jumps into the field and we’re singing the national anthem, I feel like crying, I feel a knot in my throat. It happened in the game against Jamaica in Copa America, that’s why I put my head down. When you look at a country with much turmoil and difficulties, you carry an even bigger load. It’s not just about representing your family, friends or acquaintances, it also becomes about representing millions of Venezuelans who are not going through a good moment and you know that a goal from you during the match can bring them happiness,” Martinez said.
While we worry about the players obtaining an injury during international matches, let’s realize that injuries can happen anytime, anywhere and always at the least favorable time. Sometimes players get injured with their club, which prevents them from playing with their national team with an important tournament right around the corner.
Examples of such events would be Michael Ballack missing the World Cup back in 2010 because of an injury suffered with Chelsea or David Beckham’s injury with AC Milan, which caused him to miss the 2010 World Cup as well.
At the end of the day, let’s remember when players obtain the opportunity to jump on the field with their national team, they are making a childhood dream a reality and we should be happy that we have a player with such high caliber on our roster.
On a side note, Martinez went on to score against Jamaica in last year’s Copa America and here’s the video of it in case you want to watch or rewatch it: