Brazil great Marta to stay on national soccer team

SAO PAULO (AP) Brazil great Marta will remain on the national soccer team despite growing player discontent after the firing of coach Emily Lima.

The five-time FIFA player of the year said she will not follow the actions of teammates Cristiane, Fran and Rosana.

”I will not stop playing for Brazil. Whenever they want me I will be willing to go,” the 31-year-old Orlando Pride player said. ”I am very sad, these athletes still have a lot to give. I hope the girls take it back so we can fight like we did all our lives, asking for improvements, pay rises and whatever is needed.”

In an interview with channel SporTV on Thursday after Lima was fired, Marta avoided criticizing the Brazilian soccer confederation for appointing Oswaldo Alvarez to succeed Lima and wished him luck. She said the players liked Lima’s philosophy of taking on better teams instead of avoiding them until big competitions.

Under Lima, the Brazil women won seven matches, lost five and drew one.

Alvarez was Brazil’s coach at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The team reached the semifinals but failed to win a medal. He was fired 10 months ago and was replaced by Lima.

In an Instagram video, Marta said she was being pressured by players and fans since striker Cristiane announced on Wednesday she was retiring from the national team due to the management of the team.

On Thursday, midfielder Fran and defender Rosana followed.

”I won’t play for Brazil due to the last events with the firing of the coach in such a short time,” Fran said on her social media channels. ”All the athletes were satisfied regardless of the bad results. We asked them (the federation) to keep her, but that was not enough.”