David Martínez – full name David Enmanuel Martínez Morales – will turn 18 the same week he arrives at LAFC as the most valuable signing in his home country’s history. Under contract with the Black & Gold through at least 2027, the smooth-dribbling Venezuelan attacker has drawn comparisons to Tajon Buchanan of the Canadian National team and Inter Milan (and formerly of the New England Revolution). Based on Martínez’s rapid rise through Venezuela’s first division, though, he appears determined to carve his own path.
ON THE FIELD
Tom Bogert of The Athletic wrote this week that Martínez “is viewed as the brightest young talent in the Venezuelan league.” At one point last year Martínez appeared certain to land at Ajax, the powerful Dutch club, having recorded six goals and five assists in 2,153 minutes in his home country’s top division – all before was old enough to drive. (The legal driving age in Venezuela is 18. Martinez turns 18 on February 7.)
Martínez – Instagram @davmm_10 – plays mainly as a right winger with a preferred left foot. He has also played on the left wing, as well as in a central attacking midfielder role.
Martínez comes to LAFC from Monagas SC, one of twenty clubs in Primera División Venezolana, Venezuela’s top tier. Martínez is no stranger to passionate fan bases; Monagas has by far the biggest stadium in the league (Monumental de Maturín), with a capacity of 51,796, about 10,000 more than second-place club, Estudiantes de Mérida.
In 2022 Monagas were runners-up in Primera División Venezolana. Martínez played 24 minutes in the final and converted his penalty in the decisive penalty shootout. Just 16 years old at the time, Martínez was the youngest player on the pitch by a full three years. Monagas’ loss in that final marked the club’s second-best finish in the 33 years it has competed at Venezuela’s top level. (Monagas won the championship in 2017.)
CON LA VINOTINTO
Venezuela’s Mens National Team, nicknamed La Vinotinto because of the traditional burgundy color of its shirts, shares its football talent with the world, including Europe’s top flights—particularly La Liga of Spain. Other Venezuelan greats include Josef Martínez (most recently of Inter Miami), Jefferson Savarino (who just transferred from Real Salt Lake to Brazil’s premier league), and José Martínez of Philadelphia Union.
In 2023, LAFC’s newest signing was summoned to join Venezuela’s U-17 National Team for U-17 World Cup qualifying. Martinez scored four goals and three assists in eight matches, playing a role in seven of the 12 goals Venezuela scored in the competition, and helping his country qualify. Two months later, he debuted for the senior Venezuelan National Team, coming on in the 61st minute of a friendly match against Guatemala that was tied 0-0. Venezuela went on to win 1-0.
In October 2023, The Guardian ranked him among the best players in the world born in 2006, adding that he is “the best [Venezuelan] player of his generation.”
“He has always stood out, he has always scored many goals, they have always talked about him,” Esteban Martínez, his brother and teammate at Monagas, said in the Guardian article. “And I think that means that nothing fazes him.”
The Los Angeles Football Club will kick off its seventh season of MLS play on February 24, at 1:30 p.m. PT, when it hosts Seattle Sounders FC at BMO Stadium. The game will be televised on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, and on Fox. Get tickets.