Martino: Decision to leave Atlanta United is personal

Gerardo Martino said Friday that Atlanta United gave him everything possible to succeed and that his decision not to exercise the option on his contract past this season as the team’s manager is absolutely personal. He said he let club president Darren Eales know Monday.

“We work for a wonderful club that provides absolutely everything you need as a coaching staff,” he said. “We have great players, great fan base. ... There’s nothing else they can provide. There’s not any other job that I thought I needed something else.”

Having said that, Martino said he will leave at the end of the season because, after analyzing things professionally and personally, the reasons were personal.

Eales said that it wasn’t a surprise that Martino informed him that he didn’t plan to return because two years has been Martino’s typical history as a manager. Since his first gig at Brown de Arrecifes, Martino has stayed in one job longer than three calendar years, or two seasons. That came with Paraguay, which he led from 2007-11.

“We could probably say with club teams this was one of my longer tenures,” Martino said.

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Martino will manage Atlanta United its final regular-season game this season at Toronto. A win will result in the Five Stripes and Martino securing their first trophy since starting play in MLS in 2017.  Atlanta United has clinched a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League. With one more point, it will break the league record for points in a season (69), set by Toronto last year.

“Everything from here on out is important,” Martino said. “It’s our first opportunity to win something here.”

» More: 6 candidates to replace Gerardo Martino in Atlanta

Martino reportedly will be named the next manager of Mexico’s national team. He declined to say Friday what was next, other than to his lead the team against Toronto. The MLS playoffs will start next week. The MLS Cup will be Dec. 8.

Martino said he has given to Eales and technical director Carlos Bocanegra recommendations for Atlanta United’s next manager. Martino wouldn’t share those names.

“After these two years, it’s not easy for a coach or for players these kind of decisions,” Martino said. “But in football nothing is permanent. You know that you are not tied to a club for your whole life. It’s just the way things go in this profession.”

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