Inter Miami CF has announced the signing of Venezuelan forward Josef Martinez, who was released by Atlanta United.
With Atlanta United announcing on Wednesday that they have used their offseason contract buyout on Josef Martnez, one of the greatest striker-club relationships in MLS history has officially come to an end. This opens the door for the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP to sign with Inter Miami CF ahead of the 2023 season.
Martnez, who won’t take up a Designated Player space due to the contract proportion that Inter Miami is in charge of, fills a critical need left by the retirement of iconic Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain after the 2022 season. Leonardo Campana, an Ecuadorian who was the Herons’ second-leading scorer during their comeback season a year ago, is also back.
Despite numerous player-coach disputes, Martnez rose to prominence during his six seasons with Atlanta. In the second season of competition for the Five Stripes, he scored 103 goals and contributed 17 assists through 144 regular season and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs games, and together with league-record outgoing transfer Miguel Almiron, he won the MLS Cup in 2018.
Martnez, who was well-known for his bravado and arrogance, became a beloved figure in the city after joining Atlanta in 2017 from Italian Serie A team Torino. The fact that he had a contract with Atlanta until 2023 complex his eventual departure to a rival Eastern Conference team.
Atlanta’s Vice President made statement
“Josef is a champion, and having him join our team as we enter the 2023 season is thrilling for us. “He’s been one of the top players in the league since he first arrived, and we feel he’ll make a difference here at Inter Miami.
“We’re bringing in a goal scorer with a successful track record in MLS. Josef is a player we are excited to have in our attack.
Although keeping Martnez off that roster space gives Miami flexibility after head coach Phil Neville’s team achieved the No. 5 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference last year, the scenario around Campana, midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro, and potential future movements is less apparent for Miami in 2023.
Three times chosen for the MLS Best XI presented by Audi, Martnez has also earned the AT&T 5G MLS Goal of the Year award (2019 and 2022). He has made 60 appearances for La Vinotinto on the international level, scoring 13 goals and registering three assists.
Martnez will most likely be set up to Miami fans during a special halftime ceremony on Saturday, during Inter Miami’s first preseason game against Brazilian team Vasco da Gama.
The match between Martnez’s former side and Miami will take place on Matchday 11 at DRV PNK Stadium on May 6.