Cuba’s dramatic Gold Cup took another turn on Friday, when it was revealed that striker Ariel Martinez became the fourth member of the team to defect during the tournament.
Cuba head coach Raul Gonzalez announced on Friday during the team’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s quarterfinal against the US that Martinez, who played every minute for Cuba in the group stage, left the team after their 1-0 win against Guatemala on Wednesday.
According to a Univision report, Martinez had tears in his eyes on Cuba's bus following the match and “ran off into the darkness” once the team got back to their hotel.
Martinez is the fourth player to defect from the Cuban team at the Gold Cup; Keiler Garcia departed before the team’s Group C opener, and Arael Arguellez and Dario Suarez left the team during the group stage. According to Gonzalez, the team will have 19 players available for Saturday’s match against the US.