Josef Martinez - Atlanta United - Goal celebration

How many times have we seen Josef Martinez score a goal and, unlike all professional goalscorers bar Mario Balotelli, remain calm and gaze into the crowd without a smile on his face?


Well, 46 times in 45 games to be exact.


Martinez is a lethal striker with a ruthless goalscoring instinct. It's a necessary complement to his skill, tactical acumen and work rate that has allowed him to tie the single-season scoring record in MLS with nine games left to play.


In Atlanta United's brilliant "In the mind of 'El Goleador'", Martinez opens up about those celebrations as well as rituals, faith and more.

"I believe scoring goals is my job. Beyond giving it my all, beyond it being a forward's job," Martinez said. "To score goals, it's my job. And I love staring at the fans celebrating the goal."


Martinez illuminates some of his idiosyncrasies, like his propensity for being last one off the team bus.


"I've always liked being the last one," Martinez said. "Being the last one means I like to look at my teammates in front of me. I've always been the last one, here, with the Venezuelan national team, even when I was little and it will always be that way."


Another one of his superstitions is the way he begins all matches: he always takes his first step on his left foot and never touches the lines.


"My grandmother told me that you always have to wake up on the right foot," Martinez said. "But when I start a match, I always start on my left foot. And I don't know if it's superstition or not, but I never step on the lines. The lines mean you're coming in or not. So I don't like to step on the lines. I've never liked it, not in the matches and not in training."


The Venezuelan also discusses the role his faith plays in his routine, including a prayer of gratitude before the start of every match.


Martinez will no doubt carry on those traditions on Friday night against Orlando City (8 pm ET | ESPN – Full TV & streaming info) as he looks to break the single-season scoring record behind enemy lines. 


Whenever he does get that 28th goal, it will send his beloved fans into a frenzy. And Martinez will be watching.