This decision would end one of the most successful player-club partnerships in MLS history. Martinez, who arrived in Atlanta ahead of their inaugural 2017 season, earned elite status as the club's all-time leading scorer, with 98 goals in just 134 regular-season games.
He also spearheaded the organization's emergence as a regional powerhouse during their early days in MLS, helping Atlanta win the 2018 MLS Cup title, the 2019 US Open Cup and the 2019 Campeones Cup.
His impact transcended the playing field, as Martinez became the face of the club and an iconic figure in the city of Atlanta.
Things began to unravel in the 2020, when an ACL tear caused him to miss almost the entire season and greatly affected his offensive output. During the 2022 campaign, Martinez was involved in several reported confrontations with head coach Gonzalo Pineda, including allegedly flipping over a catering table after a 2-1 loss at the Portland Timbers last month.