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Atlanta United's Martínez refuses to play for Venezuela

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez reacts in the first half of an MLS soccer match against the FC Cincinnati, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez says he will not play for Venezuela's national team as long as Rafael Dudamel is the coach.

Martinez posted a statement on Instagram on Friday shortly after Venezuela's soccer federation announced a 32-player squad for upcoming friendlies against Bolivia and Trinidad and Tobago. Martinez was not included in the squad despite having scored 26 goals in the MLS this season.

Martínez said he made the decision because of "an increasingly deteriorating professional relationship" with Dudamel but said he still hopes to play for the national team again one day.

Dudamel has held the coaching job since 2016, and has not commented on Martinez's announcement.

Venezuela will play Bolivia on Oct. 10 and four days later will face Trinidad and Tobago. Both matches will be in Caracas.

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