Six-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Marta, has made her final World Cup appearance.
Brazil were eliminated in the group stage following a goalless draw with Jamaica. It’s the first time the South Americans have failed to progress to the knockout stage in 28 years.
Marta, who went off to huge cheers after 80 minutes, is the all-time leading scorer in men’s or women’s World Cups with 17 goals.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 2, 2023
During a news conference before Brazil’s last group stage match against Jamaica, the 37-year-old, whose impact on the game has been extraordinary and cannot be overstated, became emotional when questioned about her 20-year legacy.
At first, she avoided talking about her legacy, preferring not to focus on herself, but her head coach, Pia Sundhage, gladly stepped in. Sundhage praised Marta’s significance and expressed admiration for the Brazilian superstar, describing her as a fantastic role model and thanking her for all she has done for the sport.
Marta herself shared her early experiences as a young player, revealing that she lacked a female idol in the game due to the limited attention given to women’s football back then. But things have changed, and now, she receives recognition from fans who tell her that their daughters aspire to be like her and her team.
“When I started playing, I didn’t have an idol, a female idol,” Marta said. She was unable to see herself in the game as no one showed women’s football when she was growing up, and now people stop her and the team and tell them, “My daughter wants to be just like you.”
“This wouldn’t have happened if we had stopped at the first obstacles that we faced,” Marta said, crediting a continuous persistence over the years for building the game to this point.
Marta’s legacy extends far beyond her individual achievements. She has inspired countless young girls around the world to pursue their dreams in football. Her impact on the game will be felt for generations to come.