Soccer-loving girls around the world idolize the Brazilian footballer Marta Vieira da Silva. Or, more simply known as, Marta. And for good reason – her prowess on the field knows no match.
The international player received FIFA’s Best Female Player award for the 5th consecutive time last year. She also holds the record for most World Cup goals scored (15, no joke). The 31-year-old player started out in the professional game nearly two decades ago from a rural town in northeastern Brazil. Earlier this month, Marta ended her contract with FC Rosengard and signed on to the new US team, Orlando Pride. The Brazilian CEO of the Pride, Alex Leitão, even called Marta “the greatest player of all time”.
So how much is the greatest player of all time worth? For all of her accomplishments, Marta is naturally the highest paid female player in the game. As an attacker with Orlando Pride, Marta will earn the basic NWSL salary for foreign players – just above $41,000. Most of her income will come from endorsements.
During her time at FC Rosengard, for example, Marta earned $500,000 with salary, bonuses, and endorsements included. If that sounds low to you, it’s because you’re used to hearing the blown-out salaries of male players.
Million-dollar glass ceiling
Indeed, Marta’s earnings still pale in comparison with the average male player’s salary. Despite being the highest paid female player, Marta still makes 160 times less than the highest paid male player, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid midfielder makes upwards of $88 million. His contract alone is worth over $50 million a year in salary.
Compared with Marta’s maxed out salary of $41,000, the glass ceiling can seem pretty impossible to crack. But so long as we continue to devalue female sports and accomplishments, that glass ceiling will remain glistening and untouched forever.