Marta delivers passionate plea to Brazil's next generation after World Cup exit 4 months ago

Marta delivers passionate plea to Brazil's next generation after World Cup exit

"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 Cristiane."

Formiga - Brazil's legendary midfielder - was born in 1978, at a time when women's football in her country was illegal.

The law was brought in back in 1941 through Article 54, which stated that women in Brazil would 'not be allowed to practice sports incompatible with the conditions of their nature'.

The Brazilian women's team did not exist when Formiga was born. The ban on women playing football, and other sports, was lifted in 1981 and Brazil played their first international match against the USA, five years later.

They played their first World Cup in 1991 - beating China but not getting past the group stages - and a 17-year-old Formiga was in the squad for their second World Cup outing, in 1995. She has been there ever since.

In Le Havre, on Sunday night, Formiga's seventh World Cup came to an end when Brazil were eliminated by hosts France. The 2-1 loss, after extra time, should be her swan-song but it could be likewise for two other legends, Marta and Cristiane.

Marta, who has 17 goals over five World Cups, wore red lipstick during Brazil's win over Italy and a bolder tone for the knockout clash with France. Ahead of the game, she declared:

"I always wear lipstick. Not that colour, but today I said, 'I'm going to dare'... The colour is of blood, because we had to leave blood on the pitch. Now I'm going to use it in every game."

Following Brazil's elimination, Marta delivered a passionate plea to the next generation of female footballers in Brazil.

"It's about wanting more, it’s about training more, it’s about looking after yourself more, it’s about being ready to play 90 minutes and then 30 minutes more.

"So that’s why I am asking 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 Cristiane. Women’s football depends on you to survive. Think about it, value it more...

"Cry now so you can smile at the end."

Marta is 33 and Cristiane is 34, but both players are determined to carry on playing and represent their country at the 2020 Olympics.

There has been no announcement on her future yet, but it would be foolish to rule the indomitable Formiga out of that event, too.