Atlanta United head coach Gabriel Heinze revealed forward Josef Martinez is currently coaching away from the squad.
Heinze failed to provide in-depth details, but argued that the decision was his to make rather than be forced by any injuries or fitness problems. The head coach also failed to address the longevity of his isolated training and only announced the situation during a recent press conference.
Heinze shocked the football world because no previous arguments with the striker had been discovered or reported.
“He has no form of fitness problem. It is my decision that he will train away from the team,” Heinze told the media on Thursday. “He continues to train on his own.”
Heinze remained firm throughout the conference and failed to disclose further information but reiterated that his reasoning is concrete. After years of positive contributions to the squad, Heinze’s announcement marked a sharp change. In 2018, Martinez won the Landon Donovan MLS MVP and MLS Cup MVP awards. In addition to his contribution on the field, the player is a beloved figure in the city and a favorite of the fans.
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Josef Martinez trains outside the team. Heinze will not say why, except that he can not use the press to send a message to the team. #ATLUTD
– Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) July 15, 2021
But Heinze doubled his decision, adding: “I have my reasons and I am very clear on those reasons.”
Martinez missed the entire 2020 season with a broken ACL and recently returned to score two goals in seven games this year. He last presented for Atlanta United on May 29 against Nashville SC before leaving for the Copa America with Venezuela. When he returned, Martinez was forced to train alone and build fitness after testing positive for Covid-19 while he was international.
Although many expected Martinez to be reunited with the team after a few weeks, Heinze dismissed speculation. The team is currently without several players including George Bello, Miles Robinson, Brad Guzan and Ezequiel Barco who are away in international service. Emerson Hyndman, Jurgen Damm, Franco Ibarra, Alan Franco and Mo Adams are unavailable due to injuries.