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One of the FIFA Women’s World Cup stars is calling on the next generation for help.
Brazilian legend Marta delivered an emotional speech following Brazil’s 2-1 elimination loss to hosts France in the Round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup, calling on her nations next generation to keep women’s soccer growing.
“It’s wanting more,” Marta said in a teary-eyed post-match speech. “It’s training more. It’s taking care of yourself more. It’s being ready to play 90 plus 30 minutes. This is what I ask of the girls. There’s not going to be a Formiga forever. There’s not going to be a Marta forever. There’s not going to be a Christiane. The women’s game depends on you to survive. So think about that. Value it more. Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”
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Marta, 33, has long been one of the world’s best soccer players. She made her fifth World Cup appearance in France this summer, scoring twice to become the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer with 17 goals, the most by any male or female player in history.
"Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end"
Marta's message for Brazil's next generation will give you CHILLS. 💛💚 pic.twitter.com/waDAFlgM4F
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 23, 2019
After scoring the record-breaking goal, Marta used the occasion to promote equality and women’s empowerment. She refused to sign a new cleat sponsorship deal when her contract expired last year, saying the offers were not similar to what male players were able to get. Marta, who’s been a United Nationals goodwill ambassador since 2018, decided to wear cleats that had a pink and blue symbol to represent equality, which she pointed to after scoring the record.
The gender pay gap has been the focus of the World Cup, as women’s teams continue their fight for equal pay and treatment.
“We are trying to represent women and show how women can play any type of role,” she said, via the BBC. “All the teams here, we are all representing [women]. Let me be clear, this is not only in sport. This is a struggle for equality across the board.”
It remains unclear whether Marta will play at the next World Cup in 2023, where she’ll be 37. Marta, Formiga, 41, and Cristiane, 34, are the oldest players on the Brazilian national team.
“I am proud of our performance, the grit that we showed until the end, that’s the feeling that I will keep with me. Those are the kind of matches that will help women’s football to continue to grow,” Marta said. “We are trying to represent women and show how women can play any type of role, all the teams here, we are all representing. Let me be clear, this is not only in sport. This is a struggle for equality across the board.”