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Josef Martinez declines future callups to Venezuela national team amid rift with Rafael Dudamel

There’s more than a little tension between Martinez and his national team coach.

FBL-COPA AMERICA-2019-BOL-VEN Photo credit should read LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images

While we may not see Josef Martinez take the field for Atlanta United until the MLS Cup Playoffs roll around, the next time he dons the colors of his national team could be a further topic of debate.

According to a letter that appears to be addressed to the Venezuela Football Federation (FVF), Martinez has stated that he will decline callups to appear for Vinotinto as long as manager Rafael Dudamel remains at the helm of the program. Dudamel has been at the post since 2016.

Translated, Martinez stated that he did not enjoy his time with the team during Copa America 2019, claiming “discomfort, pain, sadness and disappointment”:

[I]n recen times I have suffered more than I have enjoyed being with that great love called La Vintotinto...The reason is clear and specific: an increasingly deteriorating professional relationship with the current total commitment that I have always shown towards the (program)...I have accepted and honored them without asking for explanations, either when I play or when I don’t. [T]he reason for my deep discomfort, pain, sadness and disappointment is not the sport. It is emotional...(and a) product of the behavior (of the) person who leads...the technical body. [T]he Copa America (was the) event that most affected me (both from an emotional and sporting state).

However, Martinez did leave the door open for a return to international football:

To all Venezuelans: I know that one day we will meet again with the VINOTINTO shirt on.

Looks like no love lost between Martinez and his national team coach. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the end.