Atlanta United announced today that it has released Josef Martínez. The club will use its one offseason buyout on the player’s budget charge and Martínez will no longer occupy a Designated Player spot on the team’s roster. In a corresponding move, Martínez has elected to join Inter Miami CF, which will retain a portion of Martínez’s guaranteed contract on its 2023 club salary budget.
“Josef has played a pivotal role in Atlanta United’s history, scoring memorable goals and hoisting multiple trophies for moments that will forever live with our supporters,” Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said.
Since his arrival in 2017, Josef Martínez has poured his heart and soul into Atlanta United. We experienced a lot of firsts together – Atlanta United’s inaugural year, Josef’s first MLS season, a number of record-setting performances and, of course, an MLS championship together. Josef is a one-of-a kind, iconic athlete, and I’m grateful to him and his family for taking a chance on Atlanta and growing with us. He is one the most decorated MLS players of all time and has made Atlanta, and the entire league proud, while also representing his beautiful country of Venezuela with pride.” said Arthur M. Blank, Owner and Chairman, Blank Family of Businesses. “I know Josef will continue to shine as he heads to the next stop on his professional journey. I’m grateful for the time we’ve had with him, and I know I speak for all the dedicated 17s when I say ‘thank you Josef.’ He is a cherished member of our Atlanta United family.”
After suffering a torn ACL in the 2020 MLS season-opener that forced him to miss the entire year, Martínez returned in 2021 to score a team-high 12 goals in 24 appearances (18 starts). During that time, Martínez became the fastest player in MLS history to score 100 goals in all competitions, reaching the mark in just 125 games.
Martinez joined the club when he signed as a Designated Player on loan from Torino on Feb. 2, 2017, soon becoming a permanent transfer on March 21, 2017. After scoring 19 goals in 20 matches during his first season with Atlanta United in 2017, Martínez followed that up with a record-breaking campaign in 2018 in which he became the first MLS player to win MLS All-Star, Regular Season and MLS Cup MVP honors in the same season. The Venezuelan striker scored 31 goals in 2018 to win MLS’ Golden Boot, then-breaking the league’s regular season scoring record of 27. He added four goals during the MLS Cup Playoffs to break the league’s combined scoring record with 35 goals and deliver Atlanta its first MLS Cup title.
Last year, Martínez started the season with two goals and two assists in the first five games, but was forced to miss two months after having arthroscopic knee surgery in April. He finished the season with nine goals and added four assists in 26 appearances (12 starts). In total, Martínez scored 111 goals across all competitions with Atlanta.
Atlanta United exercised its one offseason buyout of a guaranteed contract on Josef Martínez on January 18, 2023.