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szdaily -> Person of the week
Marta breaks record at Women’s World Cup
     2015-June-12  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    SHE’S possibly the greatest soccer player you’ve never heard of.

    Marta has won virtually every individual and team honor available throughout her illustrious career — and now the Brazilian has another record to add to her collection.

    Her penalty in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over South Korea at the 2015 Women’s World Cup propelled her to the top of the tournament’s all-time goalscorer list with 15 goals.

    She surpassed retired Germany international Brigit Prinz and went two ahead of current USWNT star Abby Wambach who, at 35 years of age, is surely playing in her last World Cup.

    It was fitting that her record-breaking goal came from the penalty spot against South Korea, 12 years after her first for Brazil at a World Cup — which, incidentally, was also a penalty against the same opposition.

    However, the one major trophy to evade the 29-year-old has been the World Cup.

    Widely regarded as the best female soccer player of all time, can she really be considered the greatest ever without winning soccer’s biggest prize?

    It is a question often asked about Argentina star Lionel Messi.

    Although, Marta has an international record and Ballon d’Or haul that would make even Messi’s eyes water.

    Her goal Tuesday took her to an incredible 92 goals in 93 matches for her country while she already has five FIFA World Player of the Year awards that came in consecutive years between 2006 and 2010.

    Often referred to as “the female Pele” — and by Pele himself as “Pele with skirts” — Marta has long been an advocate for equality in women’s soccer.

    “I think it has changed a bit but that mentality still exists,” she told CNN in 2013. “There’s still prejudice and that resistance regarding women not only in female soccer but in various activities.

    “Men think that women are a bit fragile to perform some types of activities or don’t have the ability and aren’t strong enough.

    “That doesn’t exist anymore. Women have shown they have capabilities in every sense better than men a lot of time, but it’s that whole macho thing.

    “Soccer in Brazil is seen as a masculine sport, even with a lot of people accepting the female sport. There’s still a percentage that thinks like in the old days.”

    Despite there being undoubtedly a long way to go, a lot of progress has been made.

    In the United States, 3.3 million people tuned in to watch their team’s opener against Australia, more than tripling the viewing figures from the first game at the previous World Cup.

    Similarly in England, television viewers peaked at 2.4 million during the country’s 1-0 defeat against France, almost double the 1.3 million that watched them during the European Championship in 2013.

    Perhaps the most impressive figure came from the host nation Canada, whose 1.8 million viewers during their team’s tournament opener against China made it the most watched Women’s World Cup match ever in the country.

    “There is hope for the future,” Marta said two years ago.

    With her exceptional talents and record-breaking achievements, she certainly forms a large part of that hope.

    Marta started out playing barefoot at Dois Riachos in Brazil’s arid notheast state of Alagoas.

    She told her mother she would make the grade and has been as good as her word save for lifting a World Cup.

    Home life in Brazil’s tough northeast was difficult — her parents split before she was a year old and her mother was left to fend for herself and four children.

    Money was tight for everything, including school materials, never mind soccer boots, and Marta only started school from the age of 9.

    Marta played in school leagues until the day when one coach refused to let his team compete unless she withdrew.

    At that stage, a local scout brought her to Rio for try-outs with nascent women’s outfits.

    Aged 14 by that stage, Marta had never left her home state. Her mother only realized the youngster was serious when she saw her board the bus for Rio.

    She impressed in a trial and signed for the Vasco da Gama youth team. Sissi, considered Marta’s predecessor as Brazil’s top female starlet, was then in the club’s senior side.

    Sissi remembers the first time she set eyes on Marta.

    “Her technical ability and explosive pace were incomparable. Everyone is born with a gift and this is hers,” Sissi told AFP.

    By 2003, Marta was in Brazil’s Copa America squad and scoring the first of her 91 international goals.

    Months later she joined Swedish club Umea, based close to the North Pole and promptly landed the women’s UEFA Cup with them.

    That year she earned the first of 12 nominations as women’s world player of the year, winning five straight crowns from 2006-2010.

    Between spells in the United States with Los Angeles Sol and FC Gold Pride, she sandwiched a loan with the women’s squad of Pele’s old club Santos in 2009.

    There, under Kleiton Lima, who also had a spell in charge of the women’s national side, she lifted the Libertadores Cup.

    “She has a very competitive personality, she’s a warrior who always wants to win. Her life is a victory. She came from Alagoas, where there was nothing open to her, and achieved great things with her talent,” recalls Lima.

    In 2012, Marta returned to Sweden to star for Rosengard.

    Her achievements have won her global respect but she takes particular pride in having been a U.N. global ambassador since 2010.

    After Pan-American success in 2007, she had her feet cast in concrete at the Maracana, joining legends such as Pele, Zico and Romario who have left their permanent mark at the stadium.

    In 2007, she also played alongside Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane in a charity game.

    Marta has regularly called for more recognition for the women’s game in Brazil and has at times been outspoken in that demand.

    “A hundred years will have to go by before we have another Marta. That’s how it has been with Pele,” says Lima. “Since his day we have had superb players but not on the level of what Pele meant for soccer.”(SD-Agencies)

    Personal profile

    Born: Feb. 19, 1986

    Height: 1.60 m (5ft3in)

    Position: Forward

    Nationality: Brazilian

    Current club: FC Rosengard 2014-present

    Club achievements: Six Swedish league titles, two WPS Championships, 2014 Champions League runner-up

    International achievements: 2007 World Cup runner-up; 2004 and 2008 Olympic silver medalist

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