The Associated Press reported in Europe today that Brazilian striker Marta, generally considered the world’s best female soccer player, has broken off negotiations with her Swedish club and now looks certain to join local Women’s Professional Soccer entrant, the Los Angeles Sol.
“The discussion regarding Marta’s being, or not being, with Umea IK for the coming season has ended on our part,” the club said Wednesday in a statement, adding her agent had failed to respond to five separate offers. “This disinterest to discuss with Marta’s employer of the past five years has led Umea IK to now choose to end this very long-drawn out story. Umea IK and Swedish female football is losing its brightest shining star.”
Here’s the complete story.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, part-owner of the Sol, this afternoon denied the claim in the story that Marta has already signed a Sol contract.
“We are in negotiations at this time,” said a statement by Scott Hanley, AEG sports vice president. “We are confident that we will reach an agreement within the next two weeks.”
However, the story also said the contract could be announced as soon as next week, which sources tell 100 Percent Soccer is indeed likely.
This whole thing isn’t much of a surprise.
Puma has long sponsored Marta and once it reached a deal with the WPS, it was almost a foregone conclusion the company would want one of its biggest stars in the large U.S. market rather than Sweden (blue Sol Marta cleats anyone?).
It’s also pretty much a given the company will pay the bulk of Marta’s salary, which is expected to make her the highest-paid female soccer player on the planet, given WPS budget constraints.
It’s more of a surprise that the two-time FIFA female Player of the Year – and likely to make it three Monday, when the latest award is announced in Zurich – was still “negotiating” with her Swedish club, although, as the story indicated, that was apparently more wishful thinking on the club’s part.
The WPS begins play in March with the Sol hosting the league’s inaugural game at Home Depot Center.
Oh, and I’m told “Hejda” is goodbye in Swedish, BTW.