'Female Pele' Marta seeks fair deal for
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(CNN) -- There's no skirting around the issue -- short shorts, long shorts -- it doesn't matter to
the biggest name in women's
football, Marta.Who better to talk about the struggles facing the sport than the woman known
across the world as
"the female Pele?" In fact, if you ask Pele himself, largely acknowledged to be the greatest
player to have ever kicked a
football, he will tell you that he calls her "Pele with skirts."
Unlike the suggestion of FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said in 2004 that women soccer
players could wear skimpier
outfits to make the sport more appealing, Pele's comment was taken as a compliment.
"Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball," Blatter said at the
time. "They could, for example,
have tighter shorts." Which clothes players wear are irrelevant according to Marta -- but
ensuring that women's football
retains a sense of femininity is important to the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year.
"I'm all in favor of us not losing our essence, our female side, because we are women and we
have to be proud of that," the
Brazil star told CNN's "An Uneven Playing Field" documentary.
"We have to have some vanity; we have to take care of ourselves and keep our spirits high. I
think what really matters is the
support you get in football regardless of the uniform you wear.
"Some girls feel good playing in long shorts while some of them feel good playing in tighter
shorts. I'm not against it. It's
obvious that women have to explore that female side of things and I don't think that's a mistake."
Marta is one of the most vocal campaigners in the battle for equality in women's football
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