Pity Martinez said he doesn’t care what jersey number he wears and didn’t smile often during his introductory news conference at Atlanta United’s training ground Friday.
“If I have to wear No. 200 then that’s my plan,” Martinez said about his kit.
The former River Plate’s response drew laughs, which did make him smile.
Martinez’s seriousness and focus is part of why Atlanta United pursued him for two years, according to team vice president Carlos Bocanegra.
“He’s had to deal with the pressure of playing No. 10 for River Plate more than 150 times,” he said. “He’s a player that has quality to change the game with a goal or also get the final pass. We are looking forward to getting him started and integrated with the team.”
Martinez said the decision to join Atlanta United was easy because he likes a challenge and appreciates the seriousness of the club in achieving its goals, which were conveyed to him in meetings with Bocanegra and team president Darren Eales and inspired him.
“Atlanta is a club that’s winning titles,” he said. “I’m someone that likes to compete for titles.”
Martinez said the club’s participation in the CONCACAF Champions League, which will start Feb. 21 against Herediano in Costa Rica, also was an important factor.
“I want to adapt to the group as fast as I can and give everything of myself to be able to help the group because I think Atlanta deserves to be competing for these titles in these competitions,” he said. “So that’s what we were going to focus on this season.”
He said he made the decision to join Atlanta United near the end of the 2018 year, after he scored a goal to help lead River Plate to a win over Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores, a victory that helped him win the South American Player of the Year Award.
“To have someone of Pity’s quality come here to Atlanta United is fantastic for us,” Bocanegra said. “He will raise level in training, will raise level in games, will raise the level of the team.
“He’s mature off the field. Quiet confidence. Good mentality.”