Marta Vieira is currently the most valuable female soccer player in the world.
Portugal — Brazil forward Marta has returned to training after recovering from a left thigh injury, five days before the team plays its opening match at the Women’s World Cup.
The Brazilian soccer confederation published a video Tuesday of the 33-year-old Marta back on the field running but not touching the ball.
The six-time world player of the year, who stopped practicing on May 24, spent the last few days in physical therapy.
Brazil will play its opening match against Jamaica on Sunday in Grenoble. The team will also face Australia and Italy in Group C.
After opening their campaign against Jamaica on June 9, Brazil will go head-to-head with Australia in Montpellier four days later.
Australia – quarter-finalists in 2015 after upstaging Brazil in the last 16 – boast star forward Sam Kerr and the Matildas are seen as a genuine threat to USA’s crown.
Asked about the Matildas, Orlando Pride forward Marta – who plays alongside Australia internationals Alanna Kennedy and Emily van Egmond at club level in the National Women’s Soccer League – said: “They are so strong. But this is a World Cup and everything can happen. It will be all decided in details.
“Australia can go very far but they are in Brazil’s group and we won’t make their lives easy, you can be sure. They can reach the final but I hope they won’t and that Brazil can do it.”
Marta holds the record for most World Cup goals, ahead of former USA forward Abby Wambach and ex-Germany international Birgit Prinz.
“I’m very excited to go to the World Cup,” the 33-year-old said as she discussed her 15 World Cup goals. “This is one more reason to be with all my energy to try to score more goals, this motivates me a lot.”
Marta, who is regarded as the greatest female footballer, added: “I feel proud to be a reference in what I do, that you can reach children, who have you as an example. When I’m at the pitch I think about all this and try to make my best.
“My motivation comes from my daily life and then God gives you this gift. My life has always been moved by faith and persistence, and the results came. I share all these awards with my fellow players and with my rivals also because they make me a better player.”