The Brazilian Marta goes in search of a crown in the twilight of her career.

Rio de Janeiro, June 8 (AFP) Nicknamed Pelé with a skirt by the great soccer star, the Brazilian star better known as Reina Marta will play in what could be her last women's World Cup in France.

But the chances of winning the world crown that has eluded the 33-year-old veteran and his compatriots are slim, and Brazil is not inclined to lift the trophy.

Widely considered the best female player of all time, Marta has come close to international glory with Selecao, reached the final of the World Cup in 2007 and won silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.

But the Brazilian captain freely admits that this year's World Cup will be a challenge, at least, for the national team.

It's hard to think about the title, Marta told a Swedish newspaper recently.

At this moment, the situation of Selecao is far from ideal, it is the worst since I was there.

The Brazilian women's side, a mix of young aspirants and veterans like Marta, Cristiane and Formiga, has had a tough road to the World Cup, losing nine times in so many friendly matches.

In addition to her problems, Marta suffered a hamstring injury during the preparation of the tournament and it is not a certainty for Brazil's opening game against Jamaica on Sunday.

- Making history -

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If Marta does not have the same esteem as the three-time World Cup champion, Pelé, stands out for the amount of individual awards to her name, more than any other player, male or female.

She was voted FIFA player of the year for the sixth time in September, beating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have won the men's prize five times each.

Marta has a lot in common with Argentina's Messi: both are small in size, have hypnotizing ball skills and are still looking for their first World Cup.

(You say) Did not Messi enter the history of football? It's not because we do not win that we do not stay in the story, Marta told reporters in January.

But Marta's greatest achievement was escaping the misery of a difficult childhood in Dois Riachos, in the arid state of Alagoas, in northeastern Brazil.

As a UN ambassador for gender equality, she is an inspiration to many Brazilian women who love to play football, but are often stigmatized in the macho country.

- Bright career -

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Marta Vieira Da Silva has been pursuing her dreams all her life, beginning by trying to keep up with her siblings while they played.

Life at home was difficult: her parents separated before she was one year old and her mother had to use her and her four children.

Marta played in school leagues until the day a coach refused to allow her team to compete unless she withdrew.

At that stage, a local explorer took her to Rio to try the nascent women.

At the age of 14 at that stage, Marta had never left her home state.

She impressed in a trial and signed for the youth team of Vasco da Gama. Sissi, considered the predecessor of Marta as the best female star in Brazil, was on the greater side of the club.

Sissi remembers the first time she saw Marta.

His technical skill and explosive rhythm were incomparable. Everyone is born with a gift and this is theirs, Sissi told AFP.

For 2003, Marta was on the Brazil World Cup team and scored the first of her 117 goals with the national team.

Months later, she joined Swedish club Umea, based near the North Pole, and quickly won the women's UEFA Cup with them.

That year she won the first of 12 nominations as the women's world player of the year, earning five consecutive crowns from 2006 to 2010.

Between spells in the United States with Los Angeles Sol and FC Gold Pride, she had a loan with the feminine team of the old club of Pele, Santos. There, under Kleiton Lima, who also had a spell in charge of the national side of women, raised the Liberators.

Last year was very important for Marta, as she took her country to the Copa América Femenina title and set her feet specifically at the Maracana, joining legends such as Pele, Zico and Romario who have left their permanent mark on the stadium .

Last season, back in the United States, he scored 13 goals when Orlando Pride reached the NWSL playoff semifinals. Winning a world crown would complete your brilliant resume. (AFP) CM CM

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