As everyone who has followed Marta’s career knows, she is not one for hiding her emotions or holding back the tears.
And this is equally the case in good times, such as the five consecutive occasions (2006-2010) she was crowned FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and painful moments like the defeats in the finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup China 2007™ and the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008.
It therefore came as little surprise to see a tearful Marta in the wake of Brazil’s quarter-final exit at London 2012. But what was really striking was the fact that A Seleção’s No10’s sadness was not all down to the 2-0 reverse at the hands of Japan. Instead the stellar attacker was looking towards the future with concern, having admitted her own uncertainties over whether she will ever play at another Olympics.
“We came into this competition with everything we needed to play good football, but this should have started to be put in place years ago, and what we’re asking for is for it to be continued in the future,” said the Brazilian superstar, as the tears began to flow and her voice caught, perhaps with the thought that she may have played her last-ever game in this competition.
“It may not affect me or Cristiane, as I don’t know if in four years’ time I’ll be playing at another Olympics, but it needs to be done for the girls who dream of reaching the senior side.”
“It’s not that I think I won’t be there [at Rio de Janeiro 2016], but it’s hard to give an answer to that question now,” she continued. “There’s four years to go and a lot can happen. If I’m in good shape and with fuel in the tank then I’ll be there, but if not I’ll have to make room for younger girls.”
Also choosing to focus on how Brazilian women’s football should be organised, over and above any specific regrets about the loss against the Japanese, was Marta’s long-term Canarinha side-kick Cristiane.
“Japan have the kind of side they’ve got at the moment because they carried out a long-term project,” the all-time top scorer at Women’s Olympic Football Tournaments told FIFA.com.
“It took them years, but they kept working, kept persisting and now they’re the world champions. So, how do we keep managing to go toe-to-toe with everybody, like we did today? It’s because we’ve got talent, but that alone isn’t always enough.”
Concentration lapses cost Brazil
Marta too was not overly disheartened by Brazil’s display in Friday’s last-eight match in Cardiff, with As Canarinhas enjoying more possession and more chances than their opponents, only for the Germany 2011 winners’ greater effectiveness to see them through.
“In my view the result was quite harsh, because Brazil played better than Japan. It was our best performance of our four games here, but for the two lapses of concentration that cost us goals,” said the player from Alagoas state, having regained her composure.
“But if that happened then there’s a reason for it, like there were the other times too,” she added, as the interview drew to a close. “Of course I wanted to be able to look back after my career is over and be able to tell a different story after those runners-up medals [at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and China 2007], and to finally have won a gold. But, life goes on.”