That's what Martinez said in an interview released Friday with Felipe Cardenas of The Athletic, in which the 28-year-old forward reiterated his commitment to the club and love for the city.
“I don’t want to go to another team and start from scratch,” Martinez told Cardenas. “Never say never, but if it were up to me I’d choose [Atlanta] 1,000 times over. This is my home. I’ve said that many times. The club… no one feels the way I feel about this club. I’ve been here since before we had anything. We didn’t even have a home field. So obviously, I want to die here. This is my home. I’ll be here infinitely.”
One of the most prolific strikers in MLS history, Martinez is coming off a 2021 season that saw him return to play after suffering a devastating knee injury early in the 2020 campaign that kept him out of action for the next year. He wound up featuring in 24 matches for Atlanta last season (18 starts), showing flashes of his previously dominant form while putting up 12 goals in 1,641 minutes.
At his peak form, the Venezuelan is arguably the league's most ruthless and efficient forward, with a remarkable total of 89 goals in 108 games. Looking ahead to 2022, Martinez said he's feeling rejuvenated physically and ready to tackle the challenge of once again carrying the load across a full schedule. He also spoke highly of his developing rapport with head coach Gonzalo Pineda, who was hired during the season following the departure of Gabriel Heinze.
“I just needed some time off,” Martinez said. “After coming back from the knee injury, I didn’t really have much time to rest. It was game after game, flight after flight and in the end I felt that. But [the training staff] told me that the first year back would be like that. Right now I feel a lot better, the knee as well. It feels just like my other knee. I knew I had to play, that there were games I had to be in, and that’s why I have such a good relationship with [Pineda]. He knew that I was playing on one knee. But it’s not the same.”
The whole interview with Martinez is worth a read, which you can find here.