ZURICH – Marta has won five straight FIFA's women's player of the year awards. What she doesn't have is a club.
The 24-year-old Brazilian forward dominated voting announced Monday after a stellar season with the Women's Professional Soccer League champion FC Gold Pride. But club, based in Santa Clara, Calif., folded in November.
"I don't know exactly where I'm going to go," Marta told The Associated Press through a translator after tearfully accepting her award. "I have a contract and I have to stay. I'm going to see with the agents what happens from now on. By February or March I should have a better idea."
Uncertainty is not new for Marta, who has fulfilled expectations to become the league's signature player.
Exactly two years ago, she used a news conference in Zurich for the FIFA award candidates to announce she was going to America. Marta moved from Sweden to sign a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Sol that helped launch the WPS.
She was league MVP and top scorer for a team that lost the championship game, then its backers.
Marta transferred to the Gold Pride and swept the individual honors again for a title-winning team that went out of business.
"It's a little stressful to change from city to city every time," Marta acknowledged. "It was a very good season with the team and unfortunately it couldn't keep going. If we could, we would certainly have won more titles. I love the USA. If I can go back, it's a good thing."
Stability can't come soon enough in a World Cup year.
Marta also helped Brazil win the 2010 South American Championship and secure its place at the 16-nation tournament kicking off in Germany on June 26. The 2007 runner-up is seeded in a group with Australia, Norway and Equatorial Guinea.
"This is a special year and we're ready. It looks good," Marta said at a news conference Monday, flanked by two star players from the host nation and defending champion.
Marta easily won the year's first Brazil vs Germany encounter.
She got 38.2 percent of the votes, beating three-time winner Birgit Prinz (15.18) and newcomer Lira Bajramaj (9.96). Abby Wambach of the U.S. was fifth with 6.25, and American goalkeeper Hopo Solo was eighth with 3.85. Votes were cast by national team coaches and captains, plus reporters.
Marta couldn't quite keep her promise to keep emotions under control during her acceptance speech.
"It's almost too good to be true," she said.