There are few honors in soccer more prestigious than being known by one name.
With an all-time record of 17 World Cup goals across six tournaments, Brazil’s soccer icon Marta certainly qualifies for that elevated status.
After she announced that the 2023 World Cup will be her final appearance in the tournament, FIFA celebrated her achievements with its own special honorific: the FIFA Special Award. Marta accepted her trophy during Monday’s The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony.
Visibly moved by the tribute, Marta informed the audience that she was going to give her speech in her native Portuguese “because I want you guys to understand exactly what I want to say in this moment, how it means so much for me and for so many players, especially the young players.”
The six-time FIFA World Player of the Year proceeded to deliver an inspiring oratory, conveying the magnitude of the moment and using her time in the spotlight to send a message of women’s empowerment.
“As I’m looking at this award, I want all women to also be able to see a promising future, where it isn’t targeted just at football or sport, but at any activity,” she proclaimed.
“Because what we’re striving for every day, through what God intended for us, is to try to make the world a better place for everyone. With no exceptions. It’s striving for equality. It’s striving for respect.
“And I leave this message for all of those who have the power to transmit that message through what you do: Do it. Do it. Because future generations will be grateful.”
In the wake of her career achievement award, the Orlando Pride paid tribute to their star forward on social media, tweeting “Many young female footballers now have the doors open to them to build a career thanks to Marta’s fighting spirit.”
"Many young female footballers now have the doors open to them to build a career thanks to Marta’s fighting spirit"— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) January 15, 2024
Congratulations to @martavieiras10 who was also honored with the @FIFAcom Special Award for her outstanding international career achievements
Her time in Orlando has been personally significant. After signing with the Pride, Marta began dating teammate Toni Pressley in 2017 and the two announced their engagement in 2021. They have since broken up and Marta is seeing current teammate Carrie Lawrence.
Although her career was being feted, the honors didn’t stop there. FIFA also revealed that starting in 2025, it will present The Marta Award for “the best goal scored in women’s football.”
Although the 2023 World Cup was her last, Marta closed her speech by hinting that she wasn’t quite through with international competition
“And in an Olympic year, who knows, maybe I’ll play in one more Olympics,” she said.
If that’s the case, soccer fans will be the ones giving thanks.