Josef Martinez aims for the Golden Boot

Forward Josef Martinez is determined to bring Atlanta United FC back to the top of Major League Soccer (MLS), and he wouldn’t say no to a second Golden Boot in the process.

• Read also: “I want to die in Atlanta” – Josef Martinez

The Venezuelan will finally have the necessary preparation to terrorize the defenses of the Garber circuit again. If he is able to stay healthy, he wants to win the goalscoring championship, as he did in 2018 with 31 successes, a record at the time.

“Every year I try to fight for the Golden Boot. As a striker, you want to score goals and win the Golden Boot. The most important thing is to try to stay healthy and I think my personal goal is to be a leader for the goals,” explained Martinez at a press conference.

The star player doesn’t lack confidence or goals. Author of 102 goals in the uniform of Atlanta United, he hopes to reach the plateau of 200. At 28, it is doable, but complicated. He will at least have to bounce back after a campaign of 12 goals in 24 games in MLS.

Martinez was not fully recovered from his torn anterior cruciate ligament which caused him to miss most of the 2020 season. He had to undergo four operations on his right knee.

“We all know that last year was complicated. The team and I had our ups and downs, and I had good days and bad days with my injury. For me, it is important to stay healthy,” repeated the man who will be in his sixth season in North America.

thirst for victory

The year Martinez won the Golden Boot, Atlanta captured the first MLS Cup in its history. The former Torino FC in Italy wants to win again, and he hopes his team-mates have the same appetite as him.

“There is nothing you cannot accomplish without this desire, this thirst for victory. That’s what we have right now. I think our goal as a team is to fight for the top spots, to fight to try and get to the final.”

The Venezuelan intends to at least do his best. He will have no more distractions this year, with the departure of coach Gabriel Heinze, with whom he had a troubled relationship. Mexican Gonzalo Pineda was officially named on August 21, but will be in his first full campaign on the sidelines in Atlanta.

“It is difficult for a youngster like Pineda to start from scratch as a head coach. The conversation we had went as smoothly as possible,” Martinez said of the 39-year-old, who served as an assistant for the Seattle Sounders for four years before taking on the new challenge.

“I prefer that he tell me things directly, that he gives me his opinion. We want the relationship to be as healthy as possible for the good of the team.”

In 2021, Atlanta finished fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, before being defeated in the first round of the playoffs by eventual champion New York City FC.


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