33-year-old Brazilain Legend Marta scored a second-half penalty in Brazil's match against Italy to break Miroslav Klose's record of most goals scored at a men's or women's FIFA World Cup finals. She is also the first woman to have featured in five World Cups.
Marta has now scored more than a quarter of all of her country's Women's World Cup goals.
The six-time World Player of the Year, who won the World Cup Golden Ball as the top scorer at the 2007 tournament, has also been a runner-up in the annual Global Player Awards five times.
The Brazillian skipper became the first woman to score in five separate World Cups in Brazil's opening game against Australia before netting her second goal this World Cup, her 17th in all World Cups and her 106th on the international stage.June 18, 2019
With more goals, scored at a better goal-per-minute ratio than any of her Brazilian compatriots, Marta is, by all means, one of the greatest women to have ever graced the game of football. But her popularity is not bound to the borders of Brazil, as she is known all around the world as an emblem for women's football.
Widely praised for playing an essential role in raising the level and the stature of women's football amid the sport's steadily growing TV audiences around the world, Marta is nothing but an icon.
Marta officially the GOAT. 17th world cup goal tonight. The most of any player... Men or women at a World Cup. Respect!!! #BRA— Eniola Aluko (@EniAlu) June 18, 2019
So much so, that speaking with the press after the match, opposition team Italy's manager Milena Bertolini said "She's emblematic of the women's game on a global basis. When a lot of people have watched her over the last few years, they have really changed their mind with regards to whether women can indeed play football or not."
Previous record holder Miroslav Klose, who had 16 goals spread across four World Cups, was considered to be a hero of the game in native Germany and Marta is no less. Unfortunately, Marta has not been on the receiving end of the same kind of reverence and respect.
This year's FIFA Women's World Cup has been a referendum on women's sports. With a large spectacle being made for the move for equality in terms of viewership, earnings and (perhaps most importantly) respect, a legend like Marta beating a record set by a man, makes the boldest statement it possibly can.
Speaking after the game, Marta said, "We are trying to represent women and show how women can play any type of role. All the teams here, we are all representing [women]. Let me be clear, this is not only in sports. This is a struggle for equality across the board."
Marta's status as a legend of the sport has been cemented and her statements are further proof of exactly what she is made of. It is journeys and stories like hers which make women's sport so important to be appreciated.