So its 2013 and Marta is a finalist for the FIFA Player of the Year.
So its 2013 and Marta is a finalist for the FIFA Player of the Year. Again. While the 27 year old is a supremely talented player, one of the greatest ever, her continual shortlisting for the World Player of the Year devalues what should be the ultimate individual prize in women's football.
A deserved five time winner, Marta has been a perpetual finalist for the Ballon D'Or, even in years where there have clearly been other players who have performed better for their club and/or country.
However, it is not her fault. There are many factors that have caused this and some of them go to the root problems of women's football.
Firstly the criteria for nomination for the Ballon D'Or means that certain players are automatically disadvantaged. As it is dependent on games played for club and/or country, you are disadvantaged if you don't play in the "top leagues" or your country cannot afford to play many international friendlies.
Granted this is the same in men's football with most of the nominees playing in European Leagues, but this is exacerbated in women's football where the lack of financial remuneration means some of the best players can't afford to move to "top leagues".
Further, the lack of stability of women's leagues also means that certain leagues have more games and thus those players are given a further advantage in terms of being "seen".
That leads to the second issue - coverage.
While we are saturated with men's football viewing options from the English Premier League to the Kazakhstan Premier League (I kid you not), to get actual broadcasts (web streams are included in this definition) of women's football matches for domestic leagues and international friendlies is an exercise in patience.
This was emphasised this week when I, and many others from around the world, spent most of last week looking for decent broadcasts of the International Women's Club Challenge; a competition being touted as the unofficial women's World Club Championships.
In fact the broadcasting of many of the women's football leagues in the world differs greatly in quantity and quality. The end result is that even if you wanted to watch matches, there is limited surety of finding a broadcast; let alone finding a watchable one.
The lack of consistent coverage dovetails into the third issue; name recognition.
Due to past exploits, Marta is a recognisable name in women's football. Even with playing a significant number of matches in a year and getting reasonable coverage because of playing in high profile matches you might still miss out.
Take Lena Goeßling. The 27 year old midfielder had a sensational year and was a leading player for her club VfL Wolfsburg as they took out the Frauen Bundesliga, the German Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League. She then backed it up as one of the key players and the backbone of the German Women's National Team midfield in their sixth, and unlikely, European Championship triumph.
But Goeßling does not have the name recognition of Marta.
@AnnOdong Be named "Marta."
— thrace (@thrace) December 9, 2013
Unless you watched hours of Frauen Bundesliga action on the DfB website, or searched and found illegal Champions League streams (this is not an admission of guilt) or watched all of Germany's matches in Euro 2013, you'd probably have no idea who Goeßling is.
So in the end for many of the voters the polling is a question of which name sounds familiar.
Most telling is that while the biographies of the other two shortlisted players Nadine Angerer and Abby Wambach list their accomplishments for 2013, Marta's does not. It only has a snap shot of her past glory and her standing in the game generally.
This is not new to us. We are well and truly aware of what a fantastic and mercurial player she is and that, at her best, she would be in the top three players in the world - just not this year. Or in 2012 or 2011.
The problem is that in the end it devalues the prestige of the Ballon D'Or. It also devalues Marta's previous five deserved wins. Unfortunately this situation will only change in line with the growth of women's football.
Most of the discussion on social media, of which I have participated, has been about Marta's selection and not about the Abby Wambach's record breaking year or Nadine Angerer's heroics or Christine Sinclair or Lotta Schelin.
That is the real shame. That those who have actually stood up and performed in 2013 are not being lauded for it.
Reactions to the finalists
No disrespect to a legend like Marta! But, 4 the womens game 2 move forward, Merits should b judge on performance and not popularity!
— lisa devanna (@L_Devanna11) December 10, 2013
Hard to take the FIFA year-end awards seriously with Marta again made perfunctory finalist. For instance, C. Press outperformed her on club.
— Caitlin Murray (@wosocait) December 9, 2013
Look. Marta is a great player. One of the best in the world. But are we just gonna throw EUROs out the window for a name, FIFA?
— Rachael Caldwell (@racaldwe) December 9, 2013
Marta didn’t even lead her team in scoring this season. She had 12 goals for Tyreso FF; Christen Press had 23.
— Daniel Squizzato (@DanielSquizzato) December 9, 2013
Marta, Wambach and Angerer. Really. I hope Angerer wins it.
— Sylvain Jamet (@S_Jamet) December 9, 2013
“@FIFAcom: WOMEN'S WORLD PLAYER nominees: Nadine Angerer (@NAngerer), Marta and @AbbyWambach #BallondOr” HMMMM!!!!...
— Girls on the Ball (@GirlsontheBall) December 9, 2013