Brazil’s veteran midfielder Formiga has announced she will retire from international duty after one of the longest and most decorated careers in world football.
- Formiga holds the record for most World Cup appearances (men or women)
- She is the only player to have participated in every Olympic women’s football tournament, beginning in Atlanta in 1996 and ending with Tokyo in 2020
- Formiga also holds the record as the oldest Women’s World Cup goal scorer, at 37 years and three months
Her farewell match for the national team, bringing her final cap tally to 234, will be played on home soil in a friendly against India on November 25.
Formiga — meaning “ant” in Portuguese, a nickname given to her as a teenager due to her unselfish style and persistent work ethic — will continue to play domestic football in Brazil for her first club, São Paulo FC, which she first joined as a 16-year-old in 1993 and returned to earlier this year at the age of 43.
Her club career has spanned several countries, including Sweden, the United States, and France, but it’s at the national team level where Formiga, whose birth name is Miraildes Maciel Mota, will be remembered by global football.
She is the only player to compete in every version of the Olympic women’s football tournament, which began in 1996, and was an integral part of the Brazil team that won back-to-back silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games.
Formiga is also the outright record holder for most appearances at World Cup tournaments, with seven — two more than Lothar Matthäus, Antonio Carbajal, and Rafael Márquez, who are often credited with holding the appearance record.
She helped Brazil finish third at the 1999 Women’s World Cup in the USA, as well as to their best-ever result of second in 2007, when they lost the final to Germany.
Formiga also holds the record for the oldest goal scorer at a Women’s World Cup, netting against South Korea at the 2015 tournament when she was 37.
The legendary midfielder is one of the last remaining female footballers to have personally witnessed the rapid growth of the women’s game over the past two decades.
Born at a time when women were banned from playing football in Brazil altogether, she ends her career as a fully professional athlete in her home nation, having ushered in and mentored some of the greatest players in the game, including six-time World Player of the Year Marta.
“Simply a beautiful story of love and dedication,” the Brazil confederation said on Twitter. “The legend’s farewell with the shirt of Seleção Feminina have date and place marked.
“A historic moment that will always be remembered by everyone, as well as [her] honourable and gigantic career. Thanks for everything, Ant.”