What happened to Jackson Martinez?

To talk about Jackson Martínez (36 years old), despite his indisputable career in professional football, is to talk about what could have been and was not. The Colombian amazed half of Europe in Portugal, for three years in which he won, consecutively, the competition’s top scorer award with Porto. He seemed called to follow in the footsteps that his compatriot Radamel Falcao had drawn years before, but the difficult adaptation of him to the rojiblanco team, enhanced by some ankle problems that, later, ended up forcing him to retire prematurely, cut short the projection of the.


Jackson Martínez celebrates a goal with Porto.RAFAEL DEALERREUTERS

Of great size, wide stride and imposing physical gifts, the striker also showed a great scoring instinct during the three seasons he was with the Portuguese team, where he stood out the most. Something that allowed him to be summoned to the Colombian National Team in the 2014 World Cup and led Atlético de Madrid to sign him for 35 million and five seasons in the 2015/2016 campaign. However, at the Calderón he was only capable of scoring three goals in 22 games and, given the lack of continuity and the bad feelings, he left the club in that winter market. From then on, he was never the same again. He headed to China and, after returning to Portugal again years later, in 2020 he announced his football retirement.. Currently, he is dedicated to music and his family. He is a Christian-themed rap singer. and follows a quiet life with his family.

A rough start

A native of Quibdó (Colombia), his mother named him Jackson, in reference to Michael, the pop legend. There, more specifically in the town of Chocó, he grew up glued to a ball. His father had been a soccer player and he always lived in that environment in his house. Despite this, he was interested in basketball before. “He called my attention a lot, but I understood that he had greater potential in soccer,” he comments on the Colombian program ‘Se dice de mí’. He started playing it when he was little and, quickly, he was aware of his skill. His physical power and his ability to score did not understand either the economic difficulties that his family was going through or the low-end boots, and a thousand times stitched, that he wore. Soon, he caught the attention of Independiente de Medellín, a team that recruited him for the lower categories and gave him the alternative in professional football..

In Independiente he debuted in 2004, but it was not until the 2008/2009 season that he definitively established himself as one of the bastions of the Colombian tournament. So much so that the Jaguares Chiapas de México signed him the following year. In the Mexican club he stayed three seasons, in which he added 36 goals. His adaptation to the team was not easy and on more than one occasion the player has acknowledged that he came to consider leaving everything behind and returning to his country after receiving criticism. He scored nine goals in 13 games, in his first year and seven in 21, in the second. Figures that he improved exponentially in the third, with 20 in 35 games. His last season, mainly, made Porto set their eyes on him. The cast of the dragons saw in Colombia a continuing profile at the forefront that it had enjoyed in recent years, with Falcao and Hulk as the main exponents, and paid nine to get their services. There, he became one of the strikers with the greatest projection on the continent..

Golden age in Porto

In the three years he was at Dragão he won a Portuguese League and two Super Cups, and carved out the status of an absolute idol. During his journey, the team qualified twice for the final rounds of the Champions League. In the first (12/13) Pellegrini’s Málaga dismounted them in the round of 16, and in the second (14/15) it was Bayern, in the quarterfinals, their executioner. In all these adventures, the one from Quibdó had a great role, mainly in the scoring section. So much so that Only what he achieved in those three years, added to a single goal with Atlético the following season, made him the Colombian who has scored the most goals (14), along with Falcao, in the highest European competition, a record that it still holds today. He also became a key player in the Liga NOS, with 77 goals, and he left the club with 92 goals among all competitions.

Jackson Martínez celebrates a goal with Porto.


Jackson Martínez celebrates a goal with Porto.AFP
Jackson celebrates a goal with James against Japan at the World Cup.


Jackson celebrates a goal with James against Japan at the World Cup.AFP

With his National Team he had already been in the limelight for several years. After debuting on September 5, 2009, his great performance had led him to participate in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, along with men like James Rodríguez or Cuadrado. However, his physical problems, always with his ankle as the origin, weighed down what seemed like it was going to be a long and satisfying career. His last match with the coffee growers was played on November 12, 2015against Chile. In that match he had to be substituted at 85 ′, precisely because of an ankle injury.

athletic fiasco

By then he was already a member of Atlético. The rojiblanco team signed him that summer, at a rate of 35 million, before the departure of Mario Mandzukic who only completed one season at the club (20 goals). But, with Simeone, Jackson never found his place. That overwhelming and powerful player that he had proven to be in Portugal mutated, in the scarce seven months that he wore the mattress shirt, to timorous and failed. Injuries didn’t help either.. Although throughout his career he had had ankle problems, given his physiognomy, that sprain with Colombia on November 12, during a break with the National Teams, also separated him from Atlético for seven games (five in the League and two in the Champions League), when he accumulated four consecutive starts in domestic competition (against Real Sociedad, Valencia, Deportivo and Sporting). He returned on December 30 against Rayo, but he no longer enjoyed continuity. He played a few minutes on six other occasions, until on February 2 he signed for the Chinese Guangzhou (42 million). He left with a balance of 3 goals in 22 games.

Jackson poses as a new Atlético player.


Jackson poses as a new Atlético player.PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOUAFP/Getty Images
The Colombian laments during a game as a rojiblanco.


The Colombian laments during a game as a rojiblanco. JOHN MEDINAREUTERS
Jackson poses as a new player for China's Guangzhou.


Jackson poses as a new player for China’s Guangzhou.Guangzhou Evergrande Official

Going to the Asian country, as he commented afterwards, was never his priority. But the situation led him to change scenery in a minor league that would never see the best Martínez. His experience in China was traumatic. In the two seasons that he belonged to the club, he was out for 18 months, as a result of two ankle operations. He scored four goals in the 16 games he played. Performance that led Guangzhou to unilaterally terminate his contract in March 2018.

A new life

After that hard stage, he returned to Portugal in search of better sensations. But, despite enjoying better health, at Portimonense he never reached the level that had catapulted him years ago in that same league. The first course (18/19), he closed it with nine goals in 27 games. Nevertheless, his poor performance in the second (19/20), with one goal in 24 games, added to the bad feelings he was carrying, led him to hang up his boots on December 7, 2020, at the age of 34.

Currently, he is dedicated to music. His passion for religion and rap have led him to become a singer of Christian music. She has released two albums: ‘The Two Gates’ and ‘I Will Not Fear’, and He leads a life with which he claims to feel at peace, sheltered in his family and in spirituality, far from the vices that he acknowledges having had. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through all the difficulties I went through,” she commented afterwards.

What happened to Jackson Martinez?