Marta‘s five FIFA World Player of the Year honors are more numerous than any male or female in history, but through it all she has always maintained, through acceptance speeches and otherwise, that she would rather have a World Cup title.
She is the greatest female player to never win a World Cup or Olympics, and the prospects of the always mysterious Brazil claiming the World Cup this year or next year’s Olympics on home soil remain unclear. Recent results against the United States — a win, in which Marta scored a hat trick, and a draw — combined with Brazil making plans for residency ahead of these two major tournaments lead to the thought that the side is on the up. But December’s results speak as much about the United States’ recent run of relative mediocrity as it did about Brazil.
Brazil is heading into Canada what Brazil always is ahead of a major tournament: among the world’s elite but not necessarily seriously considered a possible title-winner. So what if Marta’s illustrious career — which could see her win a sixth World Player of the Year award on Monday — ends without any major tournament triumphs?
In an interview with SI’s Grant Wahl released this week, the 28-year-old Marta says she cannot call her career a failure if she never wins a World Cup.
“I cannot say that I won’t be satisfied in case I don’t win one,” she said. “If I knew that we went out with everything to get a good outcome, but if it wasn’t enough, if the opposing teams were better, well, then it’s something that we have to accept. But I would like to be able to end my career winning the world championship, without a doubt. But there’s still a little ways to go, maybe [in 2015].”
That note on ending a career with a championship is slightly alarming, but Marta goes on to say that as long as she feels good and is competitive, she’ll keep playing. She sounds more hopeful than anything that this young Brazil team can click at the right time.
In the interview Marta also talks about players’ fight against the use of artificial turf at the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Marta says she is “on their side” before going on to say that the tournament playing surfaces “[have] to be natural grass.”
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