Marta Vieira da Silva
Brazilian football striker Marta Vieira da Silva is globally recognised as one of the best female soccer players in history. Marta was appointed UNDP Goodwill Ambassador in October 2010 to shine a spotlight on the critical importance of ending poverty and empowering women around the world.
Marta is no stranger to poverty and the struggles that come with it. She was born and raised in an impoverished neighbourhood near Dois Riachos, a town in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, about 2,000 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro.
“I don’t forget my origins,” said Marta during the appointment ceremony at UNDP headquarters in New York. “I have been given opportunities to succeed in life, but I constantly think about the ones who did not have this chance. We all need to contribute to help defeat poverty.”
In her native Brazil, Marta is just as known for her famous footwork on the field as she is for giving back to her hometown through financial support and sport supplies for aspiring young athletes.
Her brilliant football skills are often compared to those of her countryman and world football legend Pelé. She has won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award for five consecutive years and holds the record for most goals scored at FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments. Currently, she plays for Football Club Rosengård in the Swedish Damallsvenskan Premier League and the Brazil women's national football team.
Invited by fellow football players Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane to play in UNDP’s 2007 Match Against Poverty in Fez, Morocco, she became the first woman in the history of football to play in an internationally-sanctioned men’s football match.
"When women succeed, we all win," said Marta during a visit to Sierra Leone, where she met with university students, young female footballers, as well as female members of parliament who are lobbying for an increase in the representation of women in government.
UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Marta Vieira da Silva supports Typhoon Haiyan recovery
Marta Vieira da Silva appointed as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador