With tears in her eyes, Brazil appealed to the entire world, not just to her country, but to Brazil, after losing 16 rounds to France in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
“There will never be a farm, there will never be a Martha, not a Christian,” she said, adding that many of Brazil’s veteran players are named after the end of their career.
When the final whistle was lost to hosts France 2-1, the Brazilians fell to a crying pitch when they were eliminated from the World Cup. Martha noticed.
Through translator Martha, she told CNN Sport, “I didn’t plan the speech. I saw my teammates crying. There were a lot of emotions. I wanted to share the message that was showing them and show the young athletes that they had to follow.”
Reflecting on her speech, Martha told CNN Sport: “Every time I can, I try to make a difference. I want to show everybody, boys and girls, that it has nothing to do with gender, that it’s possible and I do it with love. I want to be a leader on and off the field. My life has moved through it. I take this responsibility with good heart and dedication. It is a great responsibility. “
Amanda Kestelman, a journalist with Brazilian outlet GloboSport, looks at the challenges the team has faced, not just in France.
“I think everyone in Brazil is really excited. We don’t use Martha’s huge talent to make the women’s game so big in Brazil. I call them natural power because they don’t have a lot of resources,” Kestelman told CNN Sport. “They are few and far between, but they can never be. We must look for the future.”
Kestleman said: “Martha’s speech is for everyone to see because it is being broadcast all over the world, but they feel the same when talking to those women after the game.
Martha, who plays for the Orlando Pride in the NWSL in the United States, knew that the women’s game in Brazil needed a bigger, more national level.
“Men’s soccer is still religion in Brazil. You were born wearing a men’s team jersey. When you were born, your father would pick this team for you. But now people are starting to support women’s soccer. The economic difference too.”
“This pandemic brings us some uncertainties, especially financially, especially for clubs with no men’s team to support them, because we don’t know what the future holds,” Martha said.
Kestelman admits that Brazilian clubs have not played a game, men’s or women’s, since the beginning of March due to the pandemic, and that this is becoming a serious financial problem, with no end in sight.
Despite the concerns, Martha said: “I believe that women’s soccer exposure in Brazil improves every year.”
Improvements take time, and money. According to Kestelman, the disparity in funding between men’s and women’s teams from the Brazilian Football Confederation or CBF is huge.
“This is definitely a lack of investment. It’s not just a problem in Brazil; we’re talking about an issue in South America,” Kestelman said.
One of those countries, Columbia, is in the process of hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup and will learn its fate when the winning bid is announced on Thursday.
The last film we saw of Martha on the World Cup stage would be the last moment worthy of the sport’s global icon if she begged the country’s young men to dedicate themselves to advancing the women’s game.
When asked what she wants her legacy to be, Martha responded: “I want them to think of me as an athlete who inspires other people. It has improved our sport from the past to the present. I mean the whole world, not just in Brazil, because we have the power to change it.”
“Martha, soccer player, who has scored the most goals in the World Cups. I don’t want them to look at me like someone who has won the best player in the world many times; they want to see me as an athlete who has made improvements in our sport.”