Atlanta United announced today that it has agreed to terms with Josef Martinez on a five-year contract extension through the 2023 season. The reigning MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner has made no secret about his love for the city of Atlanta. He stated last season that he would stay “for as long as they want me”.
“This means a lot to me because of the affection that the fans have shown me, that the fans show all of the players. It’s unique,” Martinez said. “They recognize the effort that you give and they know you did everything to win, and I think that’s why we love playing here. I have to thank everyone. My teammates, the city, my family and friends, because this is a dream I’ve always had. I’ve said before that I don’t want to go anywhere because this is my home. You can expect more work, more intensity, because that’s who I am. I want to win. I want to do everything for my teammates and for the city.”
The club obviously are thrilled to be able to lock him up long-term with this deal. Even if he doesn’t see out the remaining time of his contract in Atlanta, this deal will give the club massive leverage in any transfer negotiations in the future. So, if any club out there wants to try and pry Josef away, they’ll need to pony up an extraordinary sum to do so.
“Josef is an exciting, dynamic player and has proven himself to be one of the best in MLS over the past two seasons,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “In addition to breaking the league’s scoring record, his work ethic and determination were rewarded by being named League MVP, and most importantly, MLS Cup champion with his teammates. We’re excited to secure Josef’s long-term future in Atlanta and we look forward to celebrating many more accomplishments together.”
The Five Stripes are extremely lucky to have found a bonafide superstar that has fallen in love with the city. MLS isn’t normally the last stop for a player of Josef’s caliber. But with this deal, it very well may be for Josef. If we see the same player during the length of this contract that we saw the previous two seasons you won’t see a single person connected to Atlanta United complaining about it.
No word on if the contract stipulates a statue in his honor be built or not.