Women's World Cup: Marta has record to rival Brazil legends Ronaldo and Pele

Women's World Cup: Marta has record to rival Brazil legends Ronaldo and Pele
Source: BBC
Date: 13-06-2019 Time: 09:06:52:pm
Marta (left) has won the Women's World Player of the Year title a record six times

Think of iconic Brazilian World Cup strikers and the names Ronaldo and Pele are likely to spring instantly to mind.

But what about Marta? Her 16th goal - a penalty in a 3-2 defeat by Australia on Thursday - means she has now scored one more World Cup goal than Ronaldo and four more than Pele.

She was already the record scorer at the Women's World Cup and her latest strike means she is the only player - male or female - to find the net at five different editions.

She went off at half-time against Australia but if she scores one more, she will take the outright record for most World Cup goals. She is currently level with Miroslav Klose, despite having played six games fewer (18) than the German.

How does Marta compare to Brazil's other World Cup legends?

In pure goalscoring terms, the 33-year-old's record makes her the standout Brazilian World Cup striker.

She has more goals and a better minutes-per-goal record than any of her compatriots.

Brazil World Cup goalscorers
  Goals Goals per minute Matches
Marta (five World Cups) 16 100 18
Ronaldo (two World Cups) 15 108.27 19
Pele (three World Cups) 12 105.00 12
Cristiane (five World Cups) 11 127 19
Jairzinho (one World Cup) 9 158.89 16

But a glaring omission from her sparkling CV is a World Cup winners' medal. She was a runner-up in 2007, whereas Ronaldo won it in 1994 and 2002 (as well as being a losing finalist in 1998) and Pele won three (1958, 1962 and 1970) of the four he appeared in.

Given that team-mate Formiga is in her seventh World Cup and still going strong at 41, though, there is plenty of time for Marta to add that elusive honour.

Iconic Brazilian World Cup moments

The biggest World Cup legends tend to have iconic tournament moments associated with them.

Who could forget Pele's attempt to score from the halfway line against Czechoslovakia in 1970 and the attempted dummy of Uruguay keeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz in the same tournament, not to mention the three times he lifted the trophy.

The curious case of Ronaldo in the 1998 final - when he was left off the teamsheet and then reinstated - went down in World Cup folklore.

But his magical on-field moment came when he scored twice to banish those demons and gain redemption four years later in a 2-0 win over Germany.

Marta has yet to enjoy a tournament-winning moment... but this one was pretty special.

Facing hosts the United States in 2007, she produced a sumptuous backheel to take the ball past Tina Ellertson followed by a dummy-to-shoot in front of Cat Whitehill before converting in a 4-0 win.

How does she compare to other greats in the women's game?

Women's World Cup goalscorers
  Goals Goals per minute Matches
Marta 16 100 18
Birgit Prinz (Germany) 14 135.93 24
Abby Wambach (USA) 14 132.86 25
Michelle Akers (USA) 12 83.58 13
Bettina Wiegmann (Germany) 11 179.64 22
Sun Wen (China) 11 160.55 20
Cristiane (Brazil) 11 127 19

For all her World Cup brilliance, Marta is way behind the women's game's all-time top scorers.

She is considered perhaps the best female player ever - Australian opponent Sam Kerr said "she is probably going to go down as the greatest player in women's football".

Retired American Abby Wambach holds the scoring record at international level with 184 goals, while Christine Sinclair - in action for Canada at this tournament - has 181.

Mia Hamm, another American legend, scored 158 times for her country.

Marta's penalty in Montpellier was her 105th in a Brazil shirt.

Marta's other monumental achievements

  • She has scored 25% (16 out of 64) of Brazil's goals at Women's World Cups
  • The Brazilian has been World Player of the Year on six occasions
  • She was the World Cup golden ball winner in 2007
  • She was one of her country's flagbearers at the Rio Olympics in 2016