Marta: FIFA wouldn't make men play on plastic

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Brazil star Marta believes FIFA are devaluing women's football by using artificial turf at the 2015 World Cup.

Speaking exclusively in the July 2015 issue of FourFourTwo, out now, the 29-year-old criticises the "sexual discrimination" of making the world's best play on Canada's plastic pitches. Marta has the backing of USA international Abby Wambach, who said: "men would strike playing on artificial turf".

The controversy led to a legal battle between the players and FIFA, with 84 stars from 13 countries involved in a lawsuit which was eventually withdrawn in January 2015 due to time constraints ahead of the tournament.

I can't see FIFA taking the same decision for the men. Prejudice is definitely one of the reasons women's football progresses slowly

"I can't see FIFA taking the same decision for the men," Marta told FourFourTwo. "Prejudice is definitely one of the reasons women's football progresses slowly in Brazil.

"I always dreamed of becoming a football player, but as the structure wasn't the best in Brazil, I had to go abroad to make that dream come true."

Maybe we are not favourites like we were in previous competitions, but we still have a good side capable of beating anyone

Marta currently plies her trade in Sweden with FC Rosengard, having been released by former club Tyreso in 2014 following the club's financial implosion. The forward is aiming to help fire Brazil to their first ever Women's World Cup triumph, after losing to Germany in the 2007 final.

This year the South Americans share a group with South Korea, Spain and Costa Rica, and are strong favourites to advance to the knockout stages.

Marta concedes the Seleçao are not expected to go all the way this time, but is confident they can match anyone in Canada. "We can be world champions. I believe in our strength," she said. "Maybe we are not favourites like we were in previous competitions, but we still have a side capable of beating anyone."

Interview: Felipe Rocha.

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Read the full interview with Marta in the July 2015 issue of FourFourTwo, which features more exclusive chats with Women’s World Cup stars. Also in the magazine: Neymar tells us how he plans to reboot Brazil and take the perfect selfie, Gary Lineker answers your One-on-One questions, 33 reasons why the Copa America will be better than the World Cup are revealed, and five Blighty-born boys who have already flown west to the MLS describe what Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard can expect Stateside. Available in printon iPad and iPhone now. Subscribe!