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Brazil legend Formiga to retire from national team

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – The most-capped player in Brazil’s history, 43-year-old Formiga, will play her final match for the national team this month after a storied career including seven World Cup and Olympics appearances, officials said Tuesday.

The iconic midfielder will don the Selecao’s yellow-and-green jersey for the last time in a friendly against India on November 25 in the northern city of Manaus, said the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).

“With 233 caps to her name, the 43-year-old midfielder will return to the team for a farewell to the jersey she has so honored,” the CBF said in a statement.

“Formiga is one of the greatest players Brazil has ever had,” women’s national team coordinator Duda Luizelli told a news conference.

Formiga, who left Paris Saint-Germain in June to sign with Sao Paulo FC until December 2022, is the only player to have taken part in all seven editions of the women’s Olympic football tournament.

The legendary number 8 won two silver medals (2004 and 2008), and was still in the starting line-up for this year’s Tokyo Games, where Brazil lost to Canada in the quarter-finals.

When she came off mid-match that day, Formiga was replaced by a player 23 years her junior.

Formiga, whose nickname means “ant,” was born Miraildes Maciel Mota in the northeastern city of Salvador in 1978.

At the time, it was still illegal for women in Brazil to play football, a sport deemed “incompatible with their nature” under a 1941 law that was repealed in 1979.

She made her debut with the national team in 1995, at age 17.

The indefatigable midfielder is the only footballer in either the men’s or women’s game to play in seven World Cups (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019).

Formiga also holds the records for the oldest World Cup player (41 years, in 2019) and oldest goal-scorer in the tournament (37 years, in 2015).

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