Atlanta United re-sign MVP Josef Martinez to five-year contract extension

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Re-signed

Josef Martinez has scored goals, broken records and won trophies at a breakneck pace since arriving in MLS, and on Wednesday Atlanta United rewarded their star striker with a new five-year contract extension that runs through the 2023 season.

“Josef is an exciting, dynamic player and has proven himself to be one of the best in MLS over the past two seasons,” Atlanta president Darren Eales said in a statement. “In addition to breaking the league’s scoring record, his work ethic and determination were rewarded by being named league MVP, and most importantly, MLS Cup champion with his teammates. We’re excited to secure Josef’s long-term future in Atlanta and we look forward to celebrating many more accomplishments together.”

The winner of the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP and MLS Golden Boot awards, the Venezuelan smashed the league’s single-season scoring record with 31 goals last season, breaking the previous mark of 27 jointly held by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips that dated back to 1996, MLS’ inaugural season.

He then extended his success into the postseason with four goals and an assist in five Audi MLS Cup Playoffs matches, pacing the Five Stripes to the MLS Cup title, which they won in front of a packed home crowd of 73,019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last month as Martinez earned match MVP honors.

His stupendous 2018 runs Martinez’s career MLS scoring total to 50 goals and seven assists in 54 regular-season games, one of the top strike rates in the history of the league. He was named to the 2017 and 2018 MLS Best XI squads and was an All-Star last year.

Martinez, 25, arrived in Atlanta on loan from Italian Serie A side Torino in February 2017 and a month later ATLUTD activated his buyout clause to acquire him on a permanent basis. He’s earned 46 caps with the Venezuelan national team, scoring nine goals for the Vinotinto.

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