4. Marta

Now into her thirties, it’s time to start cherishing the talent Marta has and how consistently good she is at the top level, despite just missing out on the top three.

Marta always had unfinished business with the USA, announcing at the beginning of 2017 she would leave Sweden behind for a new challenge with Orlando Pride, eventually linking up with Alex Morgan in attack.

Marta was everything expected of her, showing her skill and ability to twist and turn defenders, as well as the small matter of scoring 13 goals and assisting another six as the Pride reached the end of the season play-offs.

Her form was such that she was voted Player of the Month for September and impressive named in the Team of the Month four months running towards the end of the season, as well as the NWSL Best XI.

Even though Brazil’s year was disappointing, Marta still walked away from 2017 with seven goals for her national team and continued to show why she’ll go down as one of the best ever.

Tom Sermanni, Orlando Pride manager says:

“Hopefully this doesn’t sound like an insult, but she plays like a high-level men’s player. She’s got that insight and the ability to see things before other people can see it, and as a coach from the sideline, I’ve always found it fascinating that you can watch players who you know see things ahead of how other players see things. You know what they are going to do with the ball, but you don’t know how that process happens. She’s one of those players. I barely ever remember her giving the ball away, I barely ever remember her making a poor decision. She’s just has that ability to see things before other people do.”

Ella Masar, former team mate says:

“I have to say,that there has not been a player in my career, that has ‘burned’ me as much as Marta did for the time we played together. What I mean by that is just confirming what you all have seen for many years on the world stage. You know the moment where Marta seems to have found herself in an impossible situation and then the next moment she is dribbling the ball free to goal?!

“Yep, I have witnessed this many times, or maybe I should say experienced her infamous ‘extra touch.’ It is something that is not easily explained but any defender that has played against her can just nod in agreement with the ‘magicalness’ of it. You think you are 99.9 percent going to win the ball and then somehow, she takes this extra little touch, that puts you in her dust. She was an honour to play with and even more so an honour to see live for the year and half we were teammates.”

 

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