BBC's Women's Footballer of the Year: Marta

If Pele is the most famous name in the history of the Brazilian men's team, then Marta occupies the same role in the women's Selecao.

Having won Fifa's world player of the year award on five consecutive occasions between 2006 and 2010, there is no doubting the credentials of the 29-year-old forward.

Many defences have been torn apart by her strong running, superb control and hammer of a left foot. She has scored 79 goals in 91 appearances for her country.

But where Pele helped lead Brazil to three World Cup victories, Marta and her colleagues have narrowly missed out on the success their country craves.

They lost in the 2007 World Cup final to Germany, and were beaten by the United States in extra-time of the 2004 and 2008 Olympic finals.

Aiming for a first World Cup crown for the Selecao this summer, Marta is undeterred.

"The team has the ability to get a good result and I believe we can get through to the final," she said.

"This dream is not just mine but the team's and a dream for all the other girls back in Brazil who are rooting for our success."

Marta
Marta has been a runner-up with Brazil at the 2007 World Cup and the 2004 and 2008 Olympics

The wider scope of football is paramount to Marta, who in 2010 was anointed as a United Nations Goodwill ambassador.

She came through a "complicated and difficult" upbringing in Brazil and left her family as a 14-year-old to pursue her football career with Rio-based club Vasco da Gama.

"I always try to be a good example and motivate people," she adds. "I believe my story can motivate those who dream of being a professional athlete."

Having won eight league titles with clubs in the US and Sweden, where she now plays with Rosengard, she has certainly fulfilled that demand.

Marta facts
Born: 19 February 1986Height: 1.60 m (5ft 3in)
Position: ForwardNationality: Brazilian
Current club: FC Rosengard 2014-present (7 apps & 4 goals)International record: Brazil 2002-present (91 apps & 79 goals)
Club achievements: Six Swedish league titles, two WPS Championships, 2014 Champions League runner-upInternational achievements: 2007 World Cup runner-up; 2004 and 2008 Olympic silver medallist

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