Atlanta's soccer team gathered Monday for the first training session of 2020.
Atlanta United is preparing for the upcoming season without defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who was transferred to Club Tijuana last week.
Pirez is the latest departure from the team. Last year, fan-favorite Miguel Almiron was transferred to Newcastle for an MLS record sum of $27 million.
Speaking to reporters, star attacker Josef Martinez said he's happy in Atlanta, even if other lucrative opportunities exist.
“I'm not about the money,” Martinez said via a translator. “If I was, I could be playing in a different league. It’s about the care I’ve received [in Atlanta]. Someday, it'll be my turn to leave. Until then, I’m very happy here and will do what I can to help this team.”
Martinez’s base salary in 2019 was just north of $3 million. The top earner in MLS last year was Zlatan Ibrahimović, who earned $7.2 million as a member of the L.A. Galaxy.
Meanwhile, the highest paid players in the world are a familiar trio for soccer fans (per Business Insider):
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona): four-year, $80 million annually
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid): four-year, $64 million annually
- Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain): five-year, $350 million contract
Next month, United will return to action in the first round of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, playing Honduras squad F.C. Motagua.
First day in the Red, Black & Gold ✨ pic.twitter.com/HxJT24jS5v
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) January 13, 2020