Entering her sixth World Cup, Brazil superstar Marta will end her international career after this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
Like Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the men’s competition, the 37-year-old Marta is widely considered one of the greatest players in women’s soccer history, but she has yet to lift the World Cup trophy in five previous attempts.
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“It will be my last World Cup,” Marta told reporters in Brasilia on Monday, shortly before the team boarded a plane to Australia for the tournament.
“We have to understand that there comes a time for us to prioritize other things.”
Coach Pia Sundhage said last month that Marta, who has been named World Player of the Year six times, might not initially be in Brazil’s starting lineup as she continues to recover from a left knee injury.
Marta played a few minutes on Sunday when Brazil beat Chile 4-0 in their last friendly before the trip.
“I can only be grateful to have lived all those years in the national team,” said Marta, Brazil’s all-time top scorer with 117 goals.
“Having the opportunity to go to another World Cup, my sixth, is surreal for me.”
Marta underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL last year, leading to an 11-month absence from the national team.
Sundhage, who led the United States to two Olympic gold medals, called up Marta for friendlies against England and Germany in April, but the forward remained in Florida to recover from a muscle injury in her left leg.
Brazil, one of the three South American teams in the tournament, is in Group F along with France – the team that eliminated the Brazilians four years ago in the round of 16 -, Jamaica and Panama.
Their first match in the World Cup is against Panama on July 24 in Adelaide.
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