SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake and forward Juan Manuel Martinez have agreed to mutually terminate his contract so he and his family can return to his native Argentina and be closer to his extended family.
“We would like to thank Juan for his contributions to the club the past two seasons,” RSL General Manager Craig Waibel said. “Juan’s Family has always been the most important thing to him. Unfortunately, the adjustment to life in Salt Lake City off the field with young kids didn’t work out as well as we all wanted it to. In the end Juan was very happy here with the organization and MLS, but at this point we feel the most important thing is to make sure that he and his family can be home and closer to their family.”
Martinez is the second major playmaker to leave RSL this off-season. Last month, midfielder Javier Morales’ contract was not renewed.
Martinez originally signed with RSL on August 13, 2015, and played in 47 matches (42 starts) across all competitions with 10 goals and four assists in two seasons with the Claret-and-Cobalt. He made an instant impact upon his arrival, changing the dynamic of Real Salt Lake’s offense, then had seven goals and two assists in his first 15 matches of the 2016 season.
“I want to thank Real Salt Lake for the wonderful opportunity to play in Utah,:” Martinez said in a statement. “The fans were tremendous and I can’t thank them enough for their support over the last two seasons. I am proud of what we accomplished in 2016 and I want to thank my teammates, the coaches, the club and our supporters for all that they did to make this feel like home.”
Martinez, 31, is a native of Viedra, Argentina. Prior to joining Real Salt Lake, he played most of his career in Argentina with Velez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors. His career also included stints with Argentinos Juniors, Cucuta in Colombia, Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia and Corinthians in Brazil.