Three talented female players, three totally different careers, three contrasting ways of viewing women's football. Prior to the FIFA World Player Gala 2005, Shannon Boxx, Marta and Birgit Prinz gave a press conference at which they covered, in quick succession, the development of the women's game, their respective ambitions and woman's current situation in society. Read the highlights below.

Shannon Boxx:
I am so happy to be one of the three best players in the world. I never expected it at all. But I would never compare myself to Mia Hamm, who was a real legend. If I was to win, I would be really flattered and it would be recognition of all the hard work I've put in. I got into football quite late on, but I intend to make up for it by continuing to play for the national team for a long time! 

Women's football has come on a lot in recent years, in terms of media coverage too. But there is still a long way to go. 

My aim is first and foremost to find a club for next year, something that's not so easy… My experience at Sarrebruck a few years ago has stood me in good stead. I was young and I had to learn German, all of which helped shape me as a person. But more than anything, playing alongside some great players improved my standard of play by showing just how much further I still had to go. 

Marta:
Although the football side is going very well for me at the moment, my life is not that easy. Being here again this year is an emotional occasion for me, as it's really something to be recognised by the football world. I don't know how I'm going to stop myself from crying again this year (laughs)!

I've been lucky enough to be able to play for a club in Europe, where the status of women's football is a lot better than in Brazil. There are so many problems over there, so many obstacles that have to be overcome on the financial and structural sides. We can't play all year round, we receive no help at all and there is a severe lack of infrastructure. 

Setting up a Brazilian league is actually one of my aims. I'm hopeful of achieving it, but there is some resistance. The Brazilian federation supports us, but not everyone else, and if we are to succeed, we need a unified effort as there's so much work to be done. I come from a poor background and I am fighting not just for myself but for Brazilian women's football as a whole. We have tremendous potential. Five or six of us are already playing in Europe, but we lack the support needed to allow women's football to truly take off in Brazil.  

Birgit Prinz:
Winning this trophy is not an end in itself, as I've never been obsessed with awards and titles, but it is important. It's true that the only title I've never won is that of Olympic champion, quite simply because so far, we've always come up against stronger teams… I'm not as young as I was, but I hope to have a few more attempts at filling this space in my trophy cabinet! 

My experience in Afghanistan was extremely rewarding. Going over there and seeing this school and how people live was very moving. They have really tough lives and it's very gratifying to be able to help them open up to the world. The situation of women there was terrible under the Taliban. It has improved a little, but a woman who wants to play football still can't do so in public. 

Women's football is developing steadily. The 2003 World Cup in particular helped attract positive attention to our sport. In Europe, we now have good leagues, but further development is still needed in terms of more clubs and a wider infrastructure so that standards increase and the media becomes more interested in us.