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Orlando Pride star Marta named Best FIFA Women’s Player

Orlando players Sydney Leroux (2) and Marta (10) greet fans before the Houston Dash at Orlando Pride NWSL soccer game at Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Houston won the game 2-1. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando Pride star and Brazilian legend Marta on Monday claimed her sixth FIFA Player of Year award after she was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2018 during a ceremony in London.

The award is given for play from Aug. 7, 2017, through May 24, 2018. While Marta’s 2018 season with the Pride wasn’t stellar, she scored a league-high 13 goals to go with six assists with Orlando last season. Plus, her successful run as captain of the Brazilian women’s national team during the 2018 Copa América Femenina, which Brazil won, was considered.

Marta beat out German women’s national team captain Dzsenifer Marozsan and Norwegian star Ada Hegerberg for the title.

“I’m really speechless because this is a fantastic moment and people tell me, ‘You’ve been in this position so many times before, and every time you get emotional,” Marta said during her acceptance speech, translated by the Orlando Pride.

Marta finished the 2018 NWSL season with four goals and four assists during 17 appearances (15 starts) for the Pride.

To get to the final three, Marta first went through a process that included votes from fans, journalists and national team coaches and captains — the same pool of votes decided the winner. The final three was narrowed down from a list of 10 players, which was released in July.

The name and format of the award have been altered through the years, but it’s the sixth time Marta has won FIFA’s version of women’s player of the year, the most all-time for any player, male or female. 

“I do this because this means so much to me, since the first moment that I saw that this is the best thing I can do with my life, which is to play soccer and to practice this fantastic sport,” Marta said. 

“Firstly, I would like to thank God for constantly giving me health and for always giving me the ability to fight and to reach my goals. I can’t go without thanking, obviously, my teammates — from the club and the Brazilian team – the people who are with me and constantly supporting me, the fans, the press and all the athletes that are my coworkers who voted for me. I can only thank everyone, this is fantastic. It really is a magical moment, thank you.”

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