Inter Miami sign former MLS MVP Martinez as Higuain replacement

    Josef Martinez has moved from Atlanta United to Inter Miami, replacing former Gonzalo Higuain.

    Miami announced the deal on Wednesday after Atlanta confirmed it had agreed to a buyout deal with the player.

    Martinez has been with Atlanta since their debut MLS season in 2018 and holds the club’s all-time record with 111 goals.

    In the 2018 season, he teamed up with Miguel Almiron to lead the Five Stripes to MLS Cup glory.

    Martínez was MLS MVP, MLS All-Star MVP and MLS Cup MVP in that campaign, as well as winning the Golden Boot and scoring the first goal in the title game.

    The following year, Atlanta won the US Open Cup and Campeones Cup, but after Almiron’s record-breaking move to Newcastle United in the Premier League, they are in increasing trouble.

    They’ve missed the playoffs in two of the last three years, and Martinez has now moved on to rivals from the Miami Eastern Conference.

    Under Phil Neville, Miami had their best season yet in 2022, finishing sixth in the East, but Higuain’s retirement left a gaping hole in their offensive line.

    “Josef is a champion and adding him to our group is very important to us as we head into the 2023 season,” said sporting director Chris Henderson.

    “He has been one of the best players in the league since he arrived and we believe he will make a difference here at Inter Miami.

    “We are adding a proven scorer with a successful track record to the MLS. We are very happy to have a player like Josef in our attack.”

    Martinez added: “I am very happy to be able to represent Inter Miami and give it my all.

    “This is a club with high aspirations that aims to become one of the best in the league. I hope to help the team achieve their goals and leave my mark on the club.”

    Atlanta Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said: “Joseph has played a pivotal role in Atlanta United’s history, scoring memorable goals and lifting many trophies for moments that will remain with our fans forever.

    “He was a foundational element that helped build our brand into what it is today.

    “We cannot thank him enough for his contributions to the club and society over the past six years. He will always be part of Atlanta United and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

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