The Best FIFA Football Awards
Marta: The star who keeps shining
20 Aug 2018
- Marta in the running for The Best FIFA Women’s Player award
- It is the 14th time she has been nominated for FIFA’s top women's honour
- Marta: "It's a big deal for me to be among the ten again"
At 32, Marta is not the oldest nominee for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2018. USA midfielder Megan Rapinoe is a year her senior at 33, for example. But when it comes to time spent in the game’s elite, no-one can match the Seleção star.
This, in fact, is the 14th time that the Brazil No10 has been nominated for FIFA’s top women’s award. On 12 previous occasions she has made the final three, and on five she has taken home the trophy.
Let’s put that longevity into perspective. The star from the town of Dois Riachos was first named among the world’s three leading female footballers in 2004…
- at which point Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, one of her fellow nominees this year, was only nine
- since when three FIFA Women’s World Cup™ competitions have been staged
- since when Brazilian players have won the men’s accolade a further three times, with Ronaldinho Gaucho stepping up to collect the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2004 and 2005, followed by Kaka in 2007
- and at which point Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had not even been nominated for the award, something that would not happen until 2007
The Orlando Pride player’s latest nomination is founded on her continuing excellence for club and country. In April of this year she led Brazil to another Copa America triumph, in Chile. Unbeaten throughout the tournament, A Seleção scored 31 goals and conceded just two.
Strangely for a player of her scoring pedigree, Marta contributed just one goal to her side’s victorious campaign. She was, however, a linchpin in a well-balanced Brazil attack, for whom Bia scored six, Cristiane and Monica four each, and Andressa and Debinha three.
In her club’s 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) campaign, meanwhile, she showed that she can still lead the way as a goalscorer when required, firing Orlando to the semi-finals of the competition, where they were knocked out by eventual champions Portland Thorns.
Her tally of 13 goals left her four behind the season’s highest scorer, Australian striker Samantha Kerr, who is also up for this year’s The Best award. Marta also served up six assists, second only to Japanese midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi’s nine.
Given her record over the last year, it comes as something of a surprise to learn that Marta was not expecting to be nominated for the award. “I couldn’t quite believe it,” she told the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) website. “It’s always special. It’s a big deal for me to be among the ten again.”
That modesty and humility, along with her extraordinary talent, goes some way to explaining why the Brazilian icon has stayed at the top for so long.