|Desc||Lieke Martens, the reigning Fifa Player of the Year, moved to Barcelona from Swedish club Rosengärd last July, reportedly on a contract worthy an annual salary of €180,000|
|Org||Dutch Women National Team|
|Club as Player||Barcelona Women FC|
2017 10 23 Tweet
[Lieke Martens reacts to her achievement on social media and congratulates her national team manager Sarina Wiegman for being crowned The Best FIFA Women’s Coach] Wow! This is absolutely amazing! Thank you all who have voted for me! Also big congrats to our national manager! Dreams come true!
2018 03 10 Retrieve
I remember having to fight against people who said women’s football is nothing. Of course, it’s never going to be as good as the men’s game. We’re never going to have the same speed or the same physique. Our game is never going to be that fast. But we can have the same technique. And if men’s football can thrill and inspire people, women’s football can, too
2018 04 10 Retrieve
[It took until two months ago for the Dutch federation to broker agreement with the players’ union on terms and conditions. Their marquee stars, Martens, wanted more for the squad’s lesser lights] This is not about having money to buy fancy cars. It is needed to be able to purchase food in the supermarket
2018 05 23 Retrieve
[Lieke Martens talks about her childhood dream] I had a dream that didn’t exist. A lot of people were laughing at me when I was young and I said I wanted to be a professional footballer, they said it was only for boys. But women’s football was really growing. When I got an invitation to play for the national team under-15 side I felt this is really what I love. People used to laugh at me, but now I can laugh at them
[The paucity of women’s teams in her area forced her to play with boys, and she says that spell was crucial to her developing into one of the best players in her sport] I think until 12 or 13 years a girl and a boy is the same but when I got older I felt they got more physical, they were stronger and faster so I had to be more clever, I had to take one or two touches instead of dribbling all the time.
My team mates knew what I could do so they were really happy I was on their team. But the opponents would say ‘Oh no there’s a girl, she can’t play football’. Even their parents would shout at me
I got kicked more because the boys didn’t like when I dribbled past them. It made me stronger, I wanted to show them girls could play football
[Lieke Martens talks about Ronaldinho her inspiration] He was the only one who had a ponytail so he looked a little bit like a girl. He was an amazing player, he was a great finisher and he enjoyed football so much, he was laughing all the time
[Her determination to make it as a professional meant isolating herself from her friends] That was tough at such a young age but I wanted to do it. I left home when my little sister was eight years old and now she is 18, so I missed seeing her grow up. I had to put a lot of effort in but it was more than worth it.
[Martens says she has had to get used to an increased spotlight] My life has totally changed. When I go back home people ask for autographs and pictures, that’s fine because I always wanted that recognition, I worked hard for it. But I needed a bit of time to get used to it because it went from nothing to everything
[She relishes her new found position as a role model] I’m really happy I can inspire those little girls and let them see what you can do if you work for it. They have a dream now, they can see these big clubs with women’s teams, like Manchester City, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. When I was young I wanted to play for Barca or Ajax but they didn’t exist. But in other clubs women have to work. We don’t have to earn millions, I’m not asking for that, but if you really want to improve the level of women’s football there should be more opportunities to focus only on football