Eternal Formiga: the legendary Brazil's No.8



Record holder with the Brazilian National Team with more than 200 games played, 7 participations in FIFA World Cups, two-time Olympic medallist and five-time CONMEBOL America Cup champion. Miraildes Maciel Mota, better known as Formiga, celebrates her birthday.

She was born in Belo Horizonte, on March 3, 1978, a year before women’s football was legalized in Brazil.

As a child, she suffered the consequences on women’s football ban, facing prejudice even in her own home.

Sometimes she recalls when her brothers used to beat her to stop her from playing with the boys on the street. Neighbours from her homeland, Salvador da Bahia, made nasty comments to her.

They said she would not be «good enough», she would «get pregnant before her time» or that football would not make her «a good role model».

At that time, the veto against women’s football still resounded amongst Brazilians. According to the norm, football could not be played by women because it was «incompatible with the conditions of their nature».

Despite the difficult start, she enjoyed a long career in which she played for 15 clubs and always emerged victorious, including in three CONMEBOL Libertadores with São José, from Brazil.

She debuted with Brazil’s yellow jersey in 1995 and is the only football player (including women and men) to have played 7 FIFA World Cups. She was runner-up in China 2007, the biggest South American milestone in women’s World Cups. In addition, she participated in the editions of 1995, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

Formiga won the silver medal at the Olympic Games twice: Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

She was an important piece in 5 of the 8 CONMEBOL Copa America titles won by the Brazilian women’s team, being one of the main players alongside Marta.