Wednesday 17 January 2024, 17:00

Marta: “I've got a dream"

  • Marta follows in the footsteps of Pelé in receiving the FIFA Special Award

  • The six-time Women’s World Player of the Year is a role model on and off the pitch

  • “I’m happy to know that this prize is not being given only to Marta, but to all women, in the name of equality”, said the Brazilian icon

A "Rainha", the queen. For many, Marta is the best female footballer of all time, and with good reason. It owes nothing to fortune and everything to her once-in-a-generation talent that the Brazilian was voted FIFA Women's Player of the World six times between 2006 and 2018. She’s been the face of women’s football for two decades, watched and worshipped on the pitch. But even her most fervent fans still don’t know everything about the woman behind the player.

“The most recent thing I’ve started to talk about - and something that I’ve wanted for a long time - is to become a mother. I don’t know how long I’ll carry on playing – I don’t want to say one or two years, but I would absolutely love to end my career as a mother. So, if the fans didn’t know that, now they do,” she told “It’s because many people think that as I’m a footballer and I’m always playing and busy with stuff, and the fact that in the past it was a more masculine sport, people thought that as I was a footballer, I didn’t dream of or want to become a mother.” While that perception may have persisted, Marta has certainly played a significant role in fundamentally changing the way the women’s game is viewed since making the first of her six FIFA Women’s World Cup™ appearances in 2003.

During that time, she has become the final tournament’s record goalscorer with 17 goals (in both the men's and women's competitions) and found the net 115 times in 175 international matches for the Seleçao - more than celebrated compatriots Pelé, Ronaldo, or Neymar. It says everything about her extraordinary achievements both on and off the pitch that not only was she honoured with The FIFA Special Award at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2023, but the scorer of the best goal in women’s football annually will now receive a FIFA award named after Marta. Speaking backstage after receiving her award, Marta reflected on another special night in front of her peers.

“I think this one is even more special because it sums up an entire battle, it sums up a life that is dedicated to this sport we all love. And when we do things with love, I think we end up reaping the fruits and garner compliments. “The fruits are, obviously, the matches, the championships you win through what you do — in my case, playing football. But the compliments are that additional touch, something special that comes through recognition. “You don’t plan on receiving an award like this. It’s not for how you performed throughout the year as an athlete, but for what you do for society in general. And, for me, that is priceless.”

Somehow, a FIFA World Cup winner’s medal eluded her, and it will remain a surprising gap in her well-stocked CV after she bade a hugely emotional farewell to the competition following Brazil’s group stage exit at the 2023 edition. But while her international career is over and she acknowledges that – turning 38 in February - her days at club level are numbered too, the impact she has had means that kids are now as likely to have ‘Marta’ on the back of their shirt as ‘Messi.’ “That fills me with pride, and hearing that from those people [who stop me on the street] is something special,” said Marta, referring to the moment during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ when she revealed how she had been approached in public by the parents of young girls who dream of becoming like her.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been digitally enhanced.) FIFA Special Award Winner, Marta Vieira da Silva, poses for a photo during The Best FIFA Football Awards 2023 at The Apollo Theatre on January 15, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

I’ve got a dream and a desire to have a child and to grab a chair and be sat pitch-side watching them play, train and take them to training. I hope it can come true.


“If we talk about 20 years ago, more or less when I got involved in this much-loved sport, it was based around the men’s world. That’s because people thought it was a men’s game. “As time has gone on we’ve managed to change this scenario, we’ve seen this change, and I think that a lot has gone into the actions which have been taken, the investments made in the women’s game, the ground it has gained. That’s why it’s an example to follow, so that we can try to get to a point where we’re really close to achieving social equality.”

That is something Marta aims to work towards in a wider context too, with her exploits on the pitch giving her a platform from which she can help change society. Since 2010, she has worked in an ambassadorial role for the United Nations, serving over the last five years as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Women and Girls in Sport, advocating for gender equality and women's empowerment around the world. It is something she will have more time for when she finally hangs up her boots.

“I want to dedicate myself to social movements. I’m an ambassador of the UN so I’ve had the chance to go on humanitarian missions and spend time with people, to pass on this message of hope, sharing my story with them so that in some way I can help to improve these people’s lives. I’m continuing to fight for empowerment and equality, giving a voice to many women who unfortunately don’t have one. I’ve got this duty to give these people a voice,” explained Marta, who feels a duty for her career to inspire one future generation in particular: her own. “I think that there will be plenty of stories and interviews on the Internet, but I’ll make a point of telling them my story so that they can be inspired by my story and follow their own path, regardless of whether it’s in football or another sphere. I hope that they play football and the family lineage continues, that’s a dream of mine. I’ve got a dream and a desire to have a child and to grab a chair and be sat pitch-side watching them play, train and take them to training. That’s a dream of mine – I hope it can come true.”