Newly crowned MVP Josef Martinez has once again pledged his love and allegiance to Atlanta United. Despite undying rumors surrounding his future after a record-breaking MLS season, the 25-year-old remains committed to the club and city he’s fallen in love with over the past two years.
Speaking to reporters at Wednesday’s MVP presentation ceremony, the Venezuelan proclaimed that he’s willing to stay in Atlanta for as long as they’ll have him.
“I’ve said it before that I am going to be here as long as they want me,” Martinez said. “I am happy here, I feel like I’m at home.”
This declaration shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Martinez penned an entire love letter to the city of Atlanta with the Player’s Tribune in November. He’s been consistent in his passion and love for the city and the team.
“In my speech, I couldn’t find enough words to thank the fans for the support they’ve given not only me, and also my family and people close to me in these two years on the field and also off the field, seeing people in the street,” said Martinez. “The support has been incredible. All these triumphs that we’re having as a team, a lot of it is in great part due to the amazing support of our fans.”
While the romanticism of sports may have been killed and buried a long time ago by the business side, Josef Martinez may be an outlier. An athlete that values loyalty and trust over personal gain and money is a rare commodity, but Atlanta United seem to have found one of the few. He just so happens to be the most valuable player in MLS.
Here’s to hoping the love affair between Josef, the fans, and the club doesn’t burn out any time soon.