Born: Feb. 19, 1986, in Dois Riachos, Alagoas, Brazil
Clubs played for: Vasco da Gama (Brazil), Santa Cruz (Brazil), Umea IK (Sweden), Los Angeles Sol (U.S.A), FC Gold Pride, (U.S.A.), Western New York Flash (U.S.A)
International career: Commonly referred to as Marta (her full name is Marta Vieira da Silva), the Brazilian first cut her international teeth at the 2002 Women's U-19 World Cup in Canada, helping her country reach the semifinals. Another final four appearance at the U-19 competition came in 2004, a year after Marta guided Brazil through to the quarter-finals of the 2003 Women's World Cup. Success finally came in 2007 with victory in the Pan Am Games in Brazil, and a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At the 2007 Women's World Cup, Marta finished as the top scorer (seven goals) and won the tournament's MVP award, but went home with a runner's up medal as Brazil lost 2-0 to Germany in the final.
Why is she so special? One name says it all. Marta is quite simply the finest player of her generation - perhaps the best ever. In her native Brazil, the 25-year-old striker is celebrated as the female Pele and with good reason. Marta's extraordinary ability has seen her crowned FIFA World Player of the Year an unprecedented five years running (2006-2010).
Her most famous moment: Marta netted a pair of goals to lead Brazil to a 5-0 drubbing of the United States in the gold medal game of the 2007 Pan American Games in front of 70,000 fans at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio.
She said it: "We still have work to do to get [women's soccer] equally established everywhere. Every time I cross the white line, all I'm thinking about is giving the best of me and bringing a little joy to those watching. I want to win every game and strive for the best possible result. I'm competitive but always joyful, always happy. "
What they're saying about her: "I've never played anybody as fast as her. I've never seen anyone who runs as fast as you, then as soon as she touches the ball, gets faster." — Martina Franko, former Canadian defender
Here's an interesting fact: Her command performance at the Pan Am Games earned Marta a historic place in Brazilian sport as she became the first woman to be inducted into Maracana's walk of fame, concrete imprints of her lightning-quick feet joining those of male legends such as Ronaldo, Romario, Garrincha and Pele.