Women’s football has seen its share of jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring moments. It has a history made rich with fairy tale denouements and exhilarating spectacles. For this reason, it is a bit painful that women’s football often goes under the radar.
And then comes women like Marta Vieira da Silva (born 19 February 1986), commonly known as Marta who shines as brightly as all-time football greats in the sky of world football, with their pure talent and ability to mesmerize the world with skill.
It should be no surprise that Brazil gave the world two of the greatest players,
male and female. Pele established his legacy years ago. Marta Vieira da Silva is
still in the process of forging hers as the planet’s most talented player.
When the ball is at her feet, the world slides to the edge of the seats and draws their eyebrows in to figure out what the heck is going on. The flicks, the drugs and the turns that leave defenders flat-footed and staring into oblivion like dumbfounded philosophers during lunch break; the little dances, the 360s, my oh my, Marta Vieira da Silva is nearly impossible to contain and impossible to take your eyes off.
An awe-inspiring rags-to-riches story from the poverty stricken Dois Riachos in Brazil, Marta grew up playing football on the streets with boys. The young girl and her friends had to make footballs out of plastic bags tied together because in the favelas welfare was at a premium.
And of course, she had to endure the constant helpings of patriarchy that was served with distasteful disapproval because what was a woman doing playing football after all, right?! Well, smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors and Marta made defying the odds with strapping tenacity her habit.
One of the most decorated footballers of all time, she started her senior club career in 2000 with Vasco Da Gama before moving to Santa Cruz where she played for two years after which she moved to Umeå IK of Sweden. The Alagoas-born Brazilian won the UEFA Cup at the Swedish club and scored three goals over two legs in the final where they thrashed Frankfurt 8-0.
She has since played for Santos FC, Gold Pride, Western New York Flash, Tyresö FF and FC Rosengard. With Umea IK, Marta won the Svenska Cupen and the UEFA Women’s Cup once each and the Swedish Damallsvenskan four times. After joining Santos, the trickster won the Copa Libertadores de Fútbol Femenino and Copa do Brasil de Futebol Femenino in 2009.
Marta won the WPS Championship in 2010 and 2011 with FC Gold Pride and Western New York Flash respectively and added more Damallsvenskan title to her cabinet again in 2012 with Tyresö FC before winning it twice again in 2014 and 2015 – this time with FC Rosengård.
Lovingly called 'Pele in skirts', a name Pele himself endorses, the Brazilian forward has scored 105 goals in 101 appearances at more than 1 goal per game! The 31-year-old was FIFA Women's footballer of the year for 5 years in a row from 2006 to 2010.
She won the Olympic silver medal in 2004 and 2008 and the Golden Ball at the 2004 U-19 FIFA Women's Footballer of the year. Marta has also won both the Golden Ball award for the Best Player and the Golden Boot award as the top scorer in the 2007 Women's World Cup where Brazil ended as runner-up.