Brazil Superstar Marta
She's a five-time FIFA World Player of the Year, two-time Pan American Games winner and South American champion, multiple-league and cup winner in three countries and widely considered one of the top women's soccer players of all time.
She's even the one and only woman to have her magic feet immortalized in bronze at that most iconic cathedral of football, the Maracana.
But Marta has unfinished business with the Brazil national team.
With two Olympic silver medals and one Women's World Cup runner-up medal, Marta must keenly feel the frustration of a born winner just failing at the final hurdle.
London 2012 is the perfect time for the Brazil's No. 10 to finally lead her country to a first major tournament title. Here are three key reasons why.
1. Pure Class
It's no coincidence that in its three-year lifespan, the Women's Professional Soccer League was completely dominated by whichever team was lucky enough to have Marta in its ranks.
In the inaugural 2009 year, Los Angeles Sol were the regular-season champions, with Marta winning the Golden Boot. After the Sol folded, Marta moved to FC Gold Pride—where another Golden Boot-winning season led the team to the 2010 WPS championship.
A familiar story unfolded in 2011. Gold Pride went out of business, and Marta moved to Western New York Flash—who promptly won the 2011 WPS Championship while the Brazilian collected yet another Golden Boot.
Marta is the kind of player who electrifies the pitch with her sometimes unfathomable skills; but even more important is the fact that her class is indispensable to a winning side.
2. Supporting Cast
As Lionel Messi has found with Argentina, not even the greatest talent can help a team to the ultimate triumph without the right supporting cast.
The Brazil women's football team has no shortage of excellent players, and the 2012 Olympics might just be their best shot yet at a first major international trophy.
The squad assembled by coach Jorge Barcellos combines prodigious experience with some intriguingly flamboyant youth, and the entire team is ultimately built around Marta.
The exciting new presence of players like Thaisinha, a teammate of Marta's at Santos who has been likened to male counterpart Neymar, contrasts intriguingly with the big-tournament experience of Rosana, Cristiane and Formiga.
3. Revenge of the Canarinhas
The Brazil women's soccer side, the canarinhas, have been thwarted in their quest to be the best largely by one team—Team USA.
In the Women's World Cup 2007 semifinal, in perhaps their best ever form, Brazil thumped the USWNT 4-0.
That turned out to be a hollow victory. Brazil ultimately lost that final to Germany, but it has generally been the U.S. who have stymied the canarinhas. Team USA beat Brazil to gold in the finals of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, and they knocked them out of World Cup 2011 in the quarterfinals. London 2012 is Brazil's time for redemption.
Brazil are likely to meet USA in the semifinals, and they will be out for revenge. At 26, Marta is in an enviable position of peak performance and expert experience. She, more than anyone, knows how to beat Team USA, and she certainly more than anyone wants to bring Brazil their first ever soccer gold.