Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez Headed to Saudi Pro League’s Al-Nassr FC

Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez is headed to the Middle East…

Atlanta United FC have transferred the 27-year-old Argentine soccer player, an MLS All-Star midfielder, to Al-Nassr FC of the Saudi Pro League.

Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez

The transfer fee wasn’t disclosed. The transaction opens a designed player spot and an international spot on United’s 2020 roster.

Martinez tallied two goals and two assists in seven MLS matches this season. He added two goals and two assists in three games in Champions League competition.

In his first season with Atlanta in 2019, he was named an MLS All-Star with five goals and nine assists and helped the team win the U.S. Open Cup and the Campeones Cup.

“We want to thank Pity for his contributions to our club for the past two years,” said Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “He will forever be a part of Atlanta United’s history after playing an integral part in our 2019 season in which we lifted two trophies. We’ll look to be diligent in our efforts to fill that roster spot during this window.”

The native of Argentina transferred from River Plate and joined Atlanta as a designated player on January 24, 2019.

Erick Torres Signs with Atlanta United

Erick Cubo Torres is headed to The Big Peach

The 27-year-old Mexican professional footballer has signed with Atlanta United after placing Josef Martinez on the season-ending injury list.

Erick "Cubo" Torres

Martinez, the 2018 Major League Soccer MVP, tore the ACL in his right knee in Atlanta’s season-opening 2-1 win over Nashville SC on February 29. He underwent surgery on March 18.

By being placed on the season-ending injury list, Martinez won’t be able to play in any MLS competitions for the remainder of the 2020 season. Per MLS roster rules, the Martinez move allowed Atlanta to obtain roster relief in the form of an open roster spot, as well as salary budget relief up to $250,000 to sign a replacement.

Atlanta has struggled in Martinez’s absence, failing to score a single goal while losing all three games at the MLS is Back tournament. That run of results led to the team parting ways with manager Frank de Boer on July 24.

“Josef’s rehab is progressing well and is going to plan; however, it was important for us to make this move as it gives us roster relief and flexibility for the rest of the 2020 season,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “We will miss his ability and leadership on the field this season, but we look forward to having him back at the start of preseason next year.”

In Martinez’s place, the Five Stripes acquired Torres, who was out of contract after spending the last two years with Liga MX side CD Tijuana. Having played previously with two other MLS teams — the now-defunct Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo — Torres is familiar with the league, and has the added benefit of holding a green card, meaning he will count as a domestic player.

“‘Cubo’ is a natural goal-scoring forward who will bolster our frontline and we’re pleased to add a player of his quality to the team,” Bocanegra said. “He has consistently shown his finishing abilities in MLS, Liga MX and on the international stage, and we expect him to immediately contribute to the second half of our season.”

Torres was at one point considered an up-and-coming star in Mexico, breaking in with Guadalajara as a 17-year-old in 2010. He was loaned to Chivas USA in 2013, scoring 23 goals in 51 league and cup appearances over the next two seasons.

Following Chivas USA’s folding after the 2014 season, MLS purchased Torres’ contract, making him a Designated Player. He eventually landed in Houston, though his form was uneven during his tenure there. He went 23 league and cup appearances without scoring and was twice loaned to Guadalajara and Cruz Azul during that time.

Torres bounced back in 2017, scoring 14 goals in 31 league and playoff appearances, five of which came from the penalty spot. Torres returned to Mexico in 2018 with Pumas and later Tijuana, but has struggled to find success since. Over the last two years, he has scored nine goals in 45 league and cup appearances. At the international level, Torres scored one goal in seven appearances for Mexico.

Arrieta to Bare All in ESPN the Magazine’s annual The Body Issue

He may play for the Chicago Cubs, but that doesn’t mean Jake Arrieta isn’t afraid to show he’s also a Chicago Bare

ESPN has released the starting lineup for ESPN the Magazines annual The Body Issue, in which the world’s top athletes take off all their clothes and pose for photographs that help celebrate the athletic form.

Jake Arrieta

And the 30-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, the MLB wins leader in 2015, has made the cut, along with UFC fighter Conor McGregor, U.S. women’s national soccer team member Christen Press, Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade.

Arrieta, who is following up his 2015 Cy Young Award-winning season with an impressive 2016 campaign, is a well-known fitness fanatic. He’s lauded the use of Pilates as part of his remarkable comeback story. He currently has an 11-1 record with a sparkling 1.74 ERA for the Cubs in 14 starts this season.

The Body issue will also feature the first transgender athlete to appear in its pages, American duathlete Chris Mosier. Retired diver Greg Louganis — at age 56 — is the issue’s oldest.

“HIV taught me that I’m a lot stronger than I ever believed I was,” Louganis said. “I didn’t think I would see 30, and here I am at 56.”

ESPN hasn’t released the full listyet, but has said the issue will include ten men and nine women.

Arrieta is the latest Latino athlete to be featured in ESPN the Magazine’s The Body Issue, including Major League Soccer star Omar Gonzalez, Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and futbolista Carlos Bocanegra.

Gonzalez Exposes All for ESPN the Magazine’s The Body Issue

Omar Gonzalez may be a Major League Soccer star…But he’s also a major league stud. And, he’s not afraid to show it.

The 25-year-old Mexican-American soccer star, who plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy, is one of the 22 world-class athletes featured in their birthday suits for the sixth annual edition of ESPN the Magazines The Body Issue.

Omar Gonzalez in the ESPN Magazine's The Body Issue

“I don’t really care how much you can lift in the gym,” says Gonzalez about exercise and weightlifting. “I think it’s funny that there are a lot of really buff guys out there. What is all that for? They are just strong for no reason. For me, I have to be strong for my sport, so I can compete at the highest level. I may not have been the biggest, but when it came down to playing, I shut people up.”

Omar Gonzalez in the ESPN Magazine's The Body Issue

Gonzalez, who admits to being horrible at pullups, says he’s not a show-off.

“I don’t have my shirt off whenever possible,” says Gonzalez. “I’m not one to really show myself off like that.

ESPN the Magazine’s The Body Issue, which hit newsstands on July 11, is the magazine’s annual celebration of the athletic form.

“We somehow manage to raise the bar each year,” said ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com editor in chief Chad Millman. “This year’s collection of exceptional athletes and stunning photography showcases an array of sports and body types. It inhabits our mission to pay tribute to these athletes’ bodies and all they are capable of.”

Omar Gonzalez in the ESPN Magazine's The Body Issue01

In addition to Gonzalez, a member of this year’s U.S. soccer team at the FIFA World Cup, the other athletes featured stark-naked in the issue include Olympic gold-medal-winning snowboarder Jamie Anderson, tennis players Venus Williams and Tomas Berdych, Olympic bronze-medal-winning bobsledder Aja EvansArizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, professional surfer Coco Ho, boxer Bernard Hopkins, cliff diver Ginger Huber, Olympic hockey player Hilary Knight, WNBA All-Star Angel McCoughtry and the husband-wife team of X Games stars Travis Pastrana and Lyn-Z, and Amy Purdy, a snowboarder who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympics.

In previous years, the magazine featured soccer star Carlos Bocanegra and professional baseball star Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton Poses ‘In the Flesh’ for ESPN Magazine’s “The Body Issue”

There’s apparently more than meets the eye when it comes to Giancarlo Stanton… At least when he’s wearing his Miami Marlins uniform.

The 23-year-old half-Puerto Rican professional baseball player, who was named Topps All-Star Rookie Outfielder in 2010 and a National League All-Star in 2012, shows off his oh-so-toned cuerpo in ESPN‘s fifth annual “The Body Issue.”

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton, an MLB Home Run Derby pick, is one of more than a dozen athletes appearing completamente desnudos in the sports magazine’s popular issue, which aims to admire the vast potential of the human form and appreciate “the bodies we want.”

“Baseball — it’s a grind, man,” says Stanton. “With all the travel, you have to schedule your workouts. But I have cheat days. If I’m going to cheat, I’m going to cheat. It’s no, ‘Oh, I’ll have one bite.’ I’m eating the whole thing and you order on your own.”

For his wet-and-wild shoot, the Marlins outfielder stripped down to his birthday suit and was coated with gold paint before being splashed with water in his infield area.

But Stanton isn’t the only Hispanic athlete featured in ESPN’s “The Body Issue.”

Daila Ojeda

Daila Ojeda appears opposite her boyfriend Chris Sharma in a dramatic series of rock images.

The 32-year-old Spanish rock climber says, “through climbing, you can learn important things like motivation, personal growth, fear. The important thing for me is trying to force my own limits. I try what I want to try; I don’t think about the success,” says Ojeda.

Marlen Esparza

Meanwhile, Marlen Esparza hits the ring in her birthday suit and a pair of boxing gloves.

The 23-year-old Mexican American boxer, who earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, is photographed in mid-action, as she takes jabs at a punching bag.

“I imagine the fight over and over,” says Esparza. “I imagine my opponent, I imagine what she’s throwing, what I’m going to throw back. Sometimes I win the fight, sometimes I lose. I just imagine every scenario – that way when I get in the ring it’s not as intimidating, it’s like I’ve already done it.”

Stanton, Ojeda and Esparza follow in the naked footsteps of Carlos Bocanegra, Maria Gabeira and Danell Leyva, who were featured in last year’s issue.

Bocanegra Signs with MLS’ Chivas USA

It didn’t take long for Carlos Bocanegra to land his next contract…

Following the news of his departure from the Scottish Premier League’s Rangers, the 34-year-old half-Mexican American soccer star has officially signed with Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA team.

Carlos Bocanegra

Bocanegra – who spent last season with Spain’s Racing Santander, where he was on loan from the Rangers – will join the team in Philadelphia to prepare for its upcoming July 12 match against the Union.

The U.S. national team captain becomes eligible to play for Chivas USA on July 9, when the international transfer window opens.

”It feels really good to be coming back home,” said Bocanegra. ”I’ve been following MLS a lot more closely this year, and I got my start here in the league, so I’m excited to [be] seeing personally how much the league has grown.”

Chivas USA traded a first-round draft pick in 2014 and an international roster spot to Toronto FC, which owned the first shot at acquiring Bocanegra.

He’s played 116 games for the United States, including World Cups in 2006 and 2010. He began his professional career with the Chicago Fire and was 2000 MLS Rookie of the Year.

In January 2004, Bocanegra moved to Europe, joining English Premier League team Fulham, where he spent four years. He then went to France, playing for Rennes and Saint Etienne before joining Rangers.

Despite being sidelined for a month with a left hamstring injury suffered while on national team duty last November, Bocanegra became a solid defender for Racing, starting in all 23 games played for the Spanish team. The Rangers did not renew his contract when the loan ended, freeing Bocanegra to return to MLS.

Chivas USA currently has the league’s worst defense, allowing 31 goals while going 3-10-3, last in the Western Conference.

”I’m very excited to join the club,” said Bocanegra. ”I know it’s going to be a big challenge because the club hasn’t been getting the greatest results on the field, but it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

Bocanegra Leaving the Rangers, Eyeing Return to MLS

Carlos Bocanegra is setting his sights on a return to the Major League Soccer

The 34-year-old half-Mexican American soccer star, who was featured au naturel in ESPN’s The Body Issue last year, is a free agent after leaving the Scottish Premier League side Rangers.

Carlos Bocanegra

Bocanegra, the former captain of the U.S. national team, spent the past season on loan to Racing Santander in Spain’s Segunda División after the Rangers were demoted to the fourth tier of the Scottish soccer league because of financial problems.

The Rangers announced on the team’s website Saturday that Bocanegra’s contract was mutually terminated a day earlier and said he is expected to return to the Major League Soccer. Toronto has the top slot in the allocation ranking and would have the first chance to add him to its roster if he agrees to an MLS contract, league spokesman Will Kuhns said.

Bocangra played for the Chicago Fire from 2000-04, then went on to Fulham (2004-08), Rennes (2008-10), Saint-Etienne (2010-11) and Rangers (2011-12).

Bocanegra has made 110 appearances for the U.S. and was the American captain at the 2010 World Cup. He has not played for the national team since November.

Messi Wins Record Fourth Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi is officially in a league of his own…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol has become the first four-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, FIFA’s Player of the Year award, after breaking the world record for most goals in a year with 91 goals for Barcelona and Argentina.

Lionel Messi

Messi won for the fourth straight time, beating Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo and his fellow Futbol Club Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta in voting announced Monday. His 91 goals topped Gerd Mueller‘s mark of 85 for Bayern Munich and Germany back in 1972.

Messi received 41.60 percent of the points in votes by national team coaches and captains plus selected media. Ronaldo got 23.68 percent and Iniesta 10.91 percent.

“To tell the truth, this is really unbelievable to get the fourth award. I am so nervous,” Messi said in Spanish, wearing a black tuxedo jacket and bow tie, both with a white polka-dot pattern in an unexpectedly flamboyant touch.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and captain Carlos Bocanegra both voted Messi first, as did Soccer America’s Paul Kennedy.

Zinedine Zidane of France and Ronaldo of Brazil were voted FIFA Player of the Year three times before the award merged in 2010 with France Football’s Golden Ball, given to the European player of the year. The Golden Ball, or Ballon d’Or, was won three times by Michel Platini of France and Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten of the Netherlands.

Vicente del Bosque was voted top men’s coach after leading Spain to its third straight title in a major tournament, the 2012 European Championship. Del Bosque got 34.51 percent to win over Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho (20.49), who won last year, and Pep Guardiola (12.91) who won in 2011 and retired from Barcelona last spring.

The three men’s Player of the Year candidates were on the World XI All-Star team chosen by the FIFPro group of players’ unions, comprising 50,000 members worldwide.

They selected a team composed entirely of players from Spanish clubs, with nine repeating their selection from one year ago.

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was selected as goalkeeper, joined on defense by teammates Sergio Ramos and Marcelo and by Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Gerard Pique. Iniesta was joined in midfield by Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso. Messi led the attack with Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid‘s Radamel Falcao. Marcelo and Falcao replaced Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney from the 2011 team.

Bocanegra Featured in ESPN’s Body Issue

He’s one of the top defenders in Major League Soccer with his jaw-dropping play…  But Carlos Bocanegra isn’t leaving people with la boca abierta for a whole other reason.

The 33-year-old half-Mexican American futbolista, a star player for Glasgow’s Rangers Football Club in the Scottish Premier League, is one of 27 world-class athletes featured au naturel in ESPN‘s fourth annual “The Body Issue,” which aims to admire the vast potential of the human form and appreciate “the bodies we want.”

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Carlos Bocanegra

The athletes are all stars in a wide-ranging number of sports, from tennis to track, from gymnastics to sailing, from horse racing to fencing, from surfing to decathlons, from football to hockey.

Bocanegra, a member of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, says of his fine physique:

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Carlos Bocanegra

“Soccer players run a lot, so we don’t keep a lot of body fat,” says the California native. “We hear from members of the opposite sex that they enjoy our legs.”

But Bocanegra isn’t the only Hispanic athlete featured in the issue…

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Maria Gabeira

Maria Gabeira is another all-star athlete who embraced the nudity concept. The 25-year-old Brazilian big wave surfer, an ESPY Award winner for Best Female Action Sports Athlete in 2009, isn’t afraid of her own strength.

“Most women are afraid of being too strong,” says the five-time Billabong XXl Award winner. “When you surf, your muscles get bigger, especially your shoulders. But this sport is so great because it’s so aerobic that it doesn’t make you bulky.”

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Danell Leyva

Danell Leyva, the 20-year-old Cuban-American gymnast, who will be competing at the Summer Olympics in London as part of the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team, proves he’s not only an all-around gymnast, but a flexible one too.

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Danell Leyva

“As a male gymnast, you lose a lot of flexibility as you build muscle,” but I’m OK,” says Leyva. “I can still do the splits.”

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Jose A Bautista

José A. Bautista may not be able to do splits, but the 31-year-old Dominican baseball star and right fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays can hit homers.

“It’s pretty funny that people think I’m supposed to have big arms just because I hit home runs,” says Bautista.

ESPN Body Issue 2012: Cynthia Barboza

The issue also includes members of the USA Women’s Volleyball Team, including 25-year-old Latina standout Cynthia Barboza.

ESPN’s oh-so-revealing “Body” issue is due out on July 13.

Click here for a look at the gallery of photos from the issue.

http://espn.go.com/espn/photos/gallery/_/id/8136693/image/30/anna-tunnicliffe-2012-body-issue-bodies-want-espn-magazine