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June 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Obafemi Martins: ‘For me, I’m going to say the MLS league now is one of the best.’

Photo credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

Photo credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times

Sounders FC’s Obafemi Martins returned to practice Tuesday after an extended break the past couple weeks. The forward got some extra time away to serve as a summer vacation since he has been playing since September (previously with Spain’s Levante UD).

Martins, who went to Milan to visit his fiancé, said the time away “was very important for me — for my body, as well. … I think it’s good to have a break and I’m so excited I’m back. I’m ready to go.”

Now that Martins has been with the Sounders for about three months, I wanted to ask the veteran of world soccer how MLS compares to some of the leagues he has played in. The Nigerian’s résumé includes storied clubs like Newcastle (England), Inter Milan (Italy), Wolfsburg (Germany), Rubin Kazan (Russia) and Levante.

“I’m going to say a lot of people don’t really know about what is going on here in America and the league,” Martins said. “When I talk to my friends back home about that, they don’t really understand what is going on here. They’re looking at the Spanish league, Italy and England, but they have to come and check it out here because the league is growing very, very fast. And they’re excited. They want to come. I told them there’s a lot going on here and we’re enjoying the league. The league is difficult, as well, so they have to come and try. For me, I’m going to say the MLS league now is one of the best. The players who are not here have to come and try it and see how the fans are and how everything is going here.”

And what has he thought about Seattle? Well, consider him yet another impressed by the local soccer support.

“I was very, very surprised when I came to Seattle,” Martins said, “because I remember when I first came and played like 20 minutes and seeing all the fans cheering. I was so shocked, because I played in Russia, and they don’t have enough fans that come and watch the game. But in Seattle, it’s totally different. It’s just like the same in the Spanish league and England. The important thing is seeing the fans coming to watch a game, and it’s the same here. I was very surprised.”

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