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At 33, Marta is still showing the way for Brazil

PHILADELPHIA — Marta Vieira da Silva, better known as Marta, is arguably the best women’s football player to have laced up her boots. The Brazilian superstar is an icon in her home country and one of the most globally recognizable players in the women’s game.

Still as electrifying as ever, the Orlando Pride player can dribble in a phone booth and turn a game around with just a blade of grass. Marta has been causing defenders nightmares since her international debut in 2002.

The six-time FIFA World Player of the Year is gearing up for what will be her fifth World Cup with Brazil this summer. As Marta continues to carry her country, she wants people to know that Brazil is not just about Marta, Marta, Marta. It takes an entire united squad to perform and win.

“I’m a star [laughs],” Marta joked while speaking to reporters, in English, at the SheBelieves Cup. “Yes, it’s important to see how players grow up. We can’t wait for me, Formiga, or Cristiane to do something. We need the whole team to be connected, and improve every game. We can do it together.”

Brazil has been often been thought of as a one-woman show. If you can isolate and stop Marta, you will likely frustrate and overwhelm her and her teammates. Brazil’s inability to find success at the World Cup and Olympics is partly because they rely on Marta so heavily. Brazil’s predictable offense runs through her, something that was still evident in the team’s SheBelieves Cup opener, a 2-1 loss to England. Marta was spectacular — and Brazil was, too, for a half.

Can Brazil be more than their icon? Now and in the future, they are going to have to be.

“We don’t have just Marta,” Brazilian defender Erika explained. “We have our entire team and we are improving ahead of the World Cup.”

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