Formiga: 26 years after her debut, Brazil’s most capped player announces retirement

During their careers, the majority of professional players hope to play in at least one World Cup. Formiga, a Brazilian legend, has appeared in seven of them. The 43-year-old made her international debut in 1995 and has a total of 233 caps for Brazil, the highest of any male or female Brazilian player.

After 26 years of service to the national team, the women’s football legend has decided to retire from the international competition. Formiga was born in Salvador in 1978, at a time when women were prohibited from playing football in Brazil.

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Formiga remained undeterred, citing Dunga, a legendary Brazilian World Cup winner, as her motivation, and began playing at the age of 12. She made her debut for the national team five years later, at the 1995 World Cup in Sweden.

Her real name is MiraildesMacielMota, but due to her playing technique, she was given the moniker Formiga. In Portuguese, the word ant refers to unselfish play, similar to how ants work together as a colony.

The midfielder went on to play in every subsequent World Cup as well as seven Olympic Games. However, whereas the Brazilian men’s team is still the most successful international team in history, Formiga has never won a major event despite coming close several times.

Brazil finished second to the United States at the Olympics in both 2004 and 2008. They finished third in the 1999 World Cup and were defeated 2-0 by Germany in 2007 final.

After competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, when Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual champions Canada –– Formiga has now confirmed that her final game will be against India on November 25th in Manaus. She has appeared in 233 matches for Brazil, which puts her more than 50 appearances ahead of Marta, who is in the second position.

Even though Mota is retiring from international football, he will not be forgotten. The Brazilian has returned to her hometown club Sao Paulo after a fourth stint with PSG.

While it appears that Formiga will play her final game for Brazil at the end of the month, she is not the first player to retire. The midfield maestro retired from the national team in 2016, only to return in 2018 to compete in the Copa América Femenina, which Brazil won.

With two years before the Women’s World Cup in 2023, this may be the end for the time being, but it isn’t necessarily the end forever.

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