Atlanta United signs MLS MVP Josef Martinez to 5-year extension

The reigning MLS champions signed the most prodigious scorer in league history through the 2023 season.

Atlanta United announced a five-year extension for 2018 MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner Josef Martinez on Wednesday morning, locking up the high-scoring cornerstone of its celebrated attack.

“This means a lot to me because of the affection that the fans have shown me, that the fans show all of the players. It’s unique,” Martinez said in a statement. “They recognize the effort that you give and they know you did everything to win, and I think that’s why we love playing here. I have to thank everyone. My teammates, the city, my family and friends, because this is a dream I’ve always had. I’ve said before that I don’t want to go anywhere because this is my home.

“You can expect more work, more intensity, because that’s who I am. I want to win. I want to do everything for my teammates and for the city.”

The 25-year-old Venezuelan product shattered the MLS single-season scoring record last season, netting 31 regular-season goals to sprint past the previous high of 27 held by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Martinez then added four more goals during the Five Stripes’ playoff run en route to becoming the first player in league history to win MVP honors in the regular season, All-Star Game and the MLS Cup.

“Josef is an exciting, dynamic player and has proven himself to be one of the best in MLS over the past two seasons,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said. “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.”

Martinez has taken the MLS by storm since signing on as a centerpiece of Atlanta’s expansion franchise. He’s nearly averaging a goal every time he steps on the pitch (0.93 per match) and he’s set the league’s career hat trick record in just two seasons.

Roster turnover is to be expected for a talented, championship-caliber team stocked with young talent, but it appears Josef Martinez will be challenging league scoring records in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the foreseeable future.