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Pro Soccer Player Quits The MLS To Care For His Dog That’s Been Diagnosed With Cancer

He’s walking away from a million dollars a year to be with his pup

When Juan Manuel Martinez, who goes by the nickname “Burrito,” reached a mutual decision with his club, Salt Lake City’s Real Lago Salado, to terminate his contract, no one knew what was going on. The only context given for the abrupt move was that it was a “personal decision” that he would not only quit the team, but return to his homeland of Argentina.

Both the club and the player wouldn’t get into specifics, fueling the mystery even further. He’s a young player with a lot of promise, so whatever the reason was, it must have been very compelling for him. His contract was reportedly worth more than $1 million per year.

And it was.

This tweet, sent just a few days ago, reveals the reason Martinez stepped away from the game:

A translation from Deadspin reads, “Ex RLS Burrito Martínez reveals that he rescinded his contract with Real Lago Salado to accompany his dog, which has cancer, this semester. Big heart.”

He’s a self-proclaimed animal lover, as he states on his Twitter bio.


In an interview with TyC sports, he opened up on the harrowing circumstances surrounding his departure from MLS:

“One of my dogs has cancer and we are doing chemotherapy. They gave him six months to live. So, I rescinded my contract [with MLS] and the ball was in my court. Given Vélez’s situation and the affection I have for them, because the club isn’t capable of paying loans or buying reinforcements due to their economic problems, said ‘I’ll come, play for six months, I’ll leave the dog and after that continue my career, my personal challenges and my fulfill my dreams.”

In another interview, he revealed that he regularly takes in dogs off the street, cleans them, feeds them, and raises them until they’re well enough to be adopted or see vets.

As mentioned above, his dog likely has six months to live, at which time Martinez will return to the game, though he’s currently without a contract or a team. Hopefully, he’s able to make the most of this selfless time with his pup and transition back into his career when the time comes.

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