One of the greatest female footballers of all-time, Brazilian star Marta reveals her inspirations and how she fought against adversity to reach the top levels of the game.
Five times named FIFA World Player of the Year, Marta is one of the greatest female footballers of all-time. A winner of the UEFA Women’s Cup with Umea IK in 2004, she serves as a role model of the women’s game for youngsters around the world.
Growing up in Brazil, a country that lives and breathes football, as a child she had her own inspirations.
Marta 1 (Portuguese):
When I started to watch football on TV, I liked watching Rivaldo play. He was extremely skillfull and played with his left foot, and I started to imagine being in the same situation as him, in the national team, at Barcelona where he played...I liked watching him, but it wasn't because of him that I wanted to be successful in life and show the world that I could be somebody in the world of football. That really came from my home, from my mother. My dad left us very early, and she had to take care of us by herself, so I saw in her an example to continue fighting, in search of better days.
Marta 2 (Portuguese):
Women's football wasn't seen so much on TV. Every now and then they showed a match…and when I saw a football match for the first time… if I'm not wrong I think it was Corinthians...Sao Paulo had a women's football team... And I saw the girls play and I said 'Hey! There's women's football! I want that.' It was then when I started dreaming more and more about leaving my small town and going to a bigger city, having the chance to be seen by a big club and reaching the Brazilian national team.
Her dreams would become a reality as she sparkled in the famous yellow and green jersey, winning both the Golden Ball, as best player, and Golden Boot, as top scorer, at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. But it was her determination as a youngster that gave her a footing for the future.
Marta 3 (Portuguese):
When I played with the boys I saw that I could overcome difficult situations, sometimes they were much bigger and stronger than me, but I was able to excel. I had a good shot. So it was then when I started to imagine that I could become a professional player, and through that make a living.
Marta 4 (Portuguese):
There are many memories. This week , for example, I was in Brazil to take part in an ongoing programme for children in various parts of Sao Paulo. After facing various challenges, one player gets chosen to play for six months at a big team in Sao Paulo. So when I saw this one player, dedicated to get there, wanting to get through the tests, I saw myself in that situation too, because at various moments in my childhood I was in the same type of situation. It was just a bit different for me because the truth is that I was the only girl in a bunch of boys. I often get asked how my childhood was playing football, and I tell them that for a large part of my childhood I played football with the boys. And I had to fight them, because they didn't accept that a girl could play, it was like a disrespect to the city... I was so small, but the people around said 'there aren't enough boys good enough to play, so we have to put in a girl!'...
After battling against adversity herself, Marta has some good advice for any young girls who want to follow their own football dreams.
Marta 5 (Portuguese):
The advice I would give is that they must never give up. If it's something you want very much, if that is your dream, then you have to fight for it. And that starts with training: dedication, taking care of yourself, know that you have to sleep well, eat well, listen both at home and to the coach, because it's from there that you’ll grow as a person and that you’ll develop as an athlete.