It should be no surprise that Brazil continue to give the world some of the greatest players, both male and female. Pele established his legacy years ago, along modern heroes including Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Neymar is still in the process of forging his, and so too is Marta Vieira da Silva.
But whilst the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Modric and Aguero would walk into any side on the planet – commanding respect and a hefty wage – would this also apply to a female player too?
Marta, nicknamed “Pele in skirts” by the man himself, can do it all. The world has lost track of how many times she has turned a defender around and left her in the dust. Her personal accolades are remarkable, earning FIFA female world player of the year five consecutive times (2006 to 2010). Marta also won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot at the 2007 Women’s World Cup and is the competition’s all-time scoring leader with 15 goals.
When it comes to physicality, it’s argued that women will never be able to compete with men. However, when it comes down to technical ability then girls can often out-shine the boys. With the average wage of an EFL League 2 player being £40,000 a year, we could see some of the world’s best women’s footballers ask more questions when it comes to equality – following hot on the heels of Stephanie Labb this year.
The growth of women’s football in recent years is to be applauded and it is clear that although there are plenty of good initiatives, from school to adulthood, football – and society – is not doing enough to engage women with sport and transform attitudes.
Those at the top of the game still find that being a professional is a struggle. A recent FifPro survey of women footballers revealed that 88% of Women’s Super League players earn less than £18,000 per year and that 58% have considered quitting for financial reasons. There are huge resources within football and yet a majority of top professional women footballers are paid less than the top Fifa eSports players – the top 10 earning an average of £55,911 in 2017 – despite women’s football providing the biggest pound-for-pound return on FA investment.
Would you welcome players such as Toni Duggan, Marta or Marozsán to your side? Comment below!