Marta sends powerful message to young girls after Brazil exit from Women's World Cup

'Women’s football is relying on you to survive. Think about it, value it more'

Mark Critchley
Monday 24 June 2019 07:36
Women’s World Cup in numbers

Brazil great Marta delivered an impassioned plea to the country’s next generation of women’s footballers on Sunday night, after making what may be her final World Cup appearance.

The 33-year-old was powerless to prevent Brazil from exiting the tournament at the last-16 stage in Le Havre, as hosts France secured a quarter-final place with a 2-1 victory in extra time.

Marta is one of several ageing stars in Brazil’s national side, with 34-year-old Cristiane and 41-year-old Formiga - the oldest player to every appear at a World Cup - also unlikely to feature at a finals again.

And amid fears that the under-developed women’s game in Brazil is struggling to foster new talent, a tearful Marta sent a message to young girls in her home country after the final whistle.

“It is [about] wanting more, training more, caring for it more, being ready to play 90 and another 30 minutes and more, however many minutes are needed. That’s what I ask the girls,” she said.

“There is not going to be a Formiga forever, a Marta forever, a Cristiane. Women’s football is relying on you to survive. Think about it, value it more. Cry in the beginning to smile at the end.”

Women’s football in Brazil receives far less funding than the popular and successful men’s game, with the country’s professional women’s players struggling to earn a living wage.

Marta is by far the best-known women’s player in Brazil, following her breakthrough at the 2007 World Cup, but she must now contemplate the prospect of never being crowned a world champion.

But the all-time leading World Cup scorer across the men’s and women’s game gave little indication that she is ready to step away from international football just yet.

"It was a great experience for all of us, and now it's time to take advantage of this exposure and make the women's game even bigger and better," she said.

"The World Cup has ended for Brazil, but we need to keep on going. Next year we have the Olympics. And we are very grateful about all the love that came from our country during this run."

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