Marta is a woman without equal in football today.
All the same, there's still only one Marta. When she's on her game, not a player in the world can match her.
That is, not a women's player.
Now 26, Marta began building her legend as an unknown 21-year-old in 2007. That year she led Brazil to the Pan American Games title and the final of the FIFA Women's World Cup. Brazil lost the World Cup final to Germany, but Marta swept the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe as the tournament's top player and highest scorer.
A year later, she led Brazil to the Olympic gold-medal match, only to see the United States win dramatically in overtime. Three years later, the Americans eliminated Brazil and Marta again, but Marta finished as the tournament's joint-second top scorer behind Homare Sawa.
But for all the near-misses with her team, Marta has never failed to impress individually.
Already Brazil's all-time leading scorer with more than 70 goals, Marta has won the FIFA World Player of the Year award five times (2006, '07, '08, '09 and '10) and finished second twice more (2005 and '11).
And then there are the moves.
The flicks. The tricks. The dribbling. The shooting. The scoring.
Other female players might be more famous, but none exceed Marta's talent.
So is it entirely outlandish to ask whether Marta could succeed in the men's game? Sure, she's small at 5'4", and in the more physical men's game, she would struggle to impose herself physically.
Speed might also be an issue. While it's difficult to compare the men's and women's game directly, suffice it to say that the men's game moves faster.
The men's game has seen its share of short footballers, as well as slow players who can influence the game with their touch and skill on the ball. Marta certainly possesses tremendous skill with the ball, but if she ever featured in the men's game, she would immediately become a target.
So what do you think, B/R readers? Could Marta cut it in the men's game?
Vote in the poll at the right and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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