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From Legends to Breakout Stars: 7 of the Best Latina Soccer Players

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The excitement of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is heating up as the finals are right around the corner. Who will be crowned champion? It’s been a monumental tournament and fútbol fans can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

U.S. fútbol legend Mia Hamm once said that, “the vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when nobody else is watching.” That may be true, but during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, everyone is watching. Everyone is also thinking about some of their favorite players who have taken the field over the last few decades.

There have been some incredible women fútbol players that have become icons. Here are seven Latinas, some legends and some breakout stars, who have made an impact on the global sport.

Marta Vieira da Silva – Brazil

Considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of women’s fútbol, Marta Vieira da Silva, commonly known as Marta, is in a league all her own. She won FIFA’s Player of the Year six times in her career, including five straight from 2006-2010, and holds the record for the most goals scored in FIFA Women’s World Cup history. She claimed the Golden Ball in 2007.

Estefanía Banini – Argentina

When she’s on the field, Estefanía Banini has moves that are reminiscent of Argentine male fútbol star Lionel Messi, but don’t tell her that. Banini wants to prove she’s a player all her own. When she played for a fútbol club in Chile, she was named the best player in the country in 2013. She was also named to the IFFHS CONMEBOL Woman Team of the Decade, 2011–2020.

Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva – Brazil

Known as one the most elite scorers to ever play the game, Cristiane Rozeira de Souza Silva, commonly known as Cristiane, has represented Brazil on the world’s stage for the last 20 years. In 2019, at the age of 34, she became the oldest player to score a hat trick in the World Cup tournament in a 3-0 defeat of Jamaica. She claimed the Bronze Ball in 2007.

Christiane Endler – Chile

Endler is regarded by sports experts as one of the best goalkeepers in women’s fútbol. She won the Best Women’s Goalkeeper at the FIFA Football Awards in 2021 and was one of the three finalists nominated the two years prior. In 2019, Endler served as her team’s captain during the Women’s FIFA World Cup and was the highest capped player on its roster.

Sisleide do Amor Lima (a.k.a. Sissi) – Brazil

A trailblazer in women’s fútbol, Sisleide do Amor Lima, commonly known as Sissi, led the Brazilian team to the bronze medal at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999. She also claimed the Silver Ball for herself that same year. She also competed in the first-ever women’s pro soccer league in America, the Women’s United Soccer Association.

Linda Caicedo – Colombia

The 18-year-old scored in the 2023 World Cup making her the second youngest player to do it, after Marta. Linda Caicedo is a born fighter. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 15 and beat the disease after rounds of chemotherapy. She was soon back on the field playing with the Colombian Women’s Football League and Real Madrid. Colombia beat Germany at this year’s World Cup. Their win is considered one of the biggest World Cup upsets of all time.

Miraildes Maciel Mota (a.k.a Formiga) – Brazil

Another trailblazer from Brazil, Miraildes Maciel Mota, commonly known as Formiga, has appeared in a record seven different FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments. Formiga, which means “ant” in Brazilian, earned her nickname because of her unwavering work ethic. She is the most capped football player in the history of both Brazil’s men and women’s national teams.