Real Salt Lake Signs FW Juan Manuel Martinez

SANDY, Utah (Thursday, August 13, 2015) – Real Salt Lake today announced the signing of forward Juan Manuel Martinez as a Designated Player, a 29-year old former Argentine international who comes to Utah’s Major League Soccer side after a standout club career in South America that has seen him feature for legendary clubs Boca Juniors (Argentina) and Corinthians (Brazil). Martinez will be added to the RSL roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

Martinez, nicknamed “El Burrito” due to his resemblance to former Albiceleste icon Ariel Ortega, scored one goal and made four appearances for the Argentine National Team in 2011/12. In order to accommodate Martinez as a Designated Player on RSL’s roster, Targeted Allocation Money was used to lower the budget charge of Kyle Beckerman, freeing a Designated Player slot.

"Juan is a player with great quality that can add a new dynamic to our attack while fitting in with our style of keeping possession with the ball on the ground," said Real Salt Lake Technical Director Craig Waibel. "A player with his pedigree and background will be a good addition to our locker room and our play on the field."

Martinez was named Argentina’s 2010 Footballer of the Year – sharing the award with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi – following a campaign with Velez Sarsfield that saw him score 10 goals in 19 games in that year’s road to the Apertura title. Throughout his career, Martinez has earned a reputation as a tenacious and agile attacking player, possessing the technical ability to create individually and combine either wide or centrally.

“Martinez is a very experienced player,” said RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar. “He’s played in several high-level situations, and has enjoyed success at each and every stop. We believe he will bring a style of soccer that we want for our club and our fans.”

Martinez joins RSL following 13 professional seasons in South American top-flight leagues, mostly in in the Argentine Primera Division, with stints in Colombia (Cucuta, 2007) and Brazil (Corinthians, 2012). The Velez Sarsfield product has amassed 258 career appearances and 44 goals dating back to 2003. A two-time league champion with 2005 and 2009 Clausura titles, as well as the 2010 Apertura runner-up, all with Velez, Martinez’ domestic performance earned him recognition as the 2010 Argentine Footballer of the Year, as awarded by that nation’s sporting press.

Martinez arrived with Argentine heavyweights Boca Juniors in January, 2013, making 58 appearances for the iconic club while scoring 10 goals. With four appearances for the Argentine National Team in 2011 and 2012, Martinez scored one goal, against Brazil on Sept. 19, 2012. That year – 2012 – also saw “El Burrito” appear in the FIFA Club World Cup for Corinthians (BRA) against English power Chelsea FC.

Transaction: Real Salt Lake signs forward Juan Manuel Martinez on August 13, 2015. In order to accommodate Martinez as a Designated Player on RSL’s roster, Targeted Allocation Money was used to lower the budget charge of Kyle Beckerman, freeing a Designated Player slot.

Name: Juan Manuel Martinez
Nickname: “El Burrito”
Position: Forward
Height: 5-9
Weight: 170
Born: October 25, 1985
Hometown: Viedma, Rio Negro, Argentina
Citizenship: Argentina
Acquired: Signed on August 13, 2015 as a Discovery Player

Wednesday night, RSL was knocked out of the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinals with a 1-3 loss at Sporting Kansas City. RSL returns from its four-game, three-competition, 11,000-mile road marathon over the last two weeks that also saw last week’s 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League win at Municipal in Guatemala City sandwiched between league losses at D.C. United on August 1 and last Saturday at Vancouver. 

Real Salt Lake – now 11-10-8 across all competitions in 2015 – resumes the MLS regular season by hosting Portland Timbers Saturday night (8:00 p.m. MT kickoff) at its Rio Tinto Stadium home, where the club has amassed an 8-1-6 mark in 2015.  RSL also welcomes the Seattle Sounders to Utah on Sat., August 22, as the squad battles down the stretch for a Western Conference playoff berth, seeking to extend the club’s seven-year active postseason streak, the longest in MLS.