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Formiga (footballer, born 1978)

Miraildes Maciel Mota (born 3 March 1978), commonly known as Formiga (Portuguese: ant), is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain. She previously played for professional clubs in Sweden and the United States. Formiga holds many international records as a member of the Brazil women's national football team, being the only player present in all Olympic Games tournaments of women's football since the first edition at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and a record for appearing at seven different FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments.

Formiga (08), meio-campista, DSC00910-2012-26-07.jpg
Personal information
Full name Miraildes Maciel Mota[1]
Date of birth (1978-03-03) 3 March 1978 (age 41)
Place of birth Salvador, Bahia, Brazil[2]
Height 162 cm (5 ft 4 in)[3]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Paris Saint-Germain
Number 24
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1997 São Paulo
1998 Portuguesa
1999 São Paulo
2000–2001 Santa Isabel
2002 Santos
2003 Independente
2004–2005 Malmö FF Dam
2006 New Jersey Wildcats 12 (13)
2007 Jersey Sky Blue 6 (1)
2007 Saad
2008 Botucatu
2009 FC Gold Pride 16 (0)
2010 Chicago Red Stars 23 (0)
2011– 2017 São José
2017– Paris Saint-Germain 39 (0)
National team
1995– Brazil 195[4] (29)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 November 2019

Club careerEdit

Born in Salvador, Formiga was born during a period when it had become illegal for women to play football in Brazil.[5]

Formiga began playing football at the age of 12. She has cited Dunga, captain of the male Brazilian team that won the 1994 FIFA World Cup as the biggest influence on her playing style.[6] She earned the nickname Formiga, which means ant in Portuguese, as a teenager because of her unselfish style of play which reminded fellow players of the way ants worked together as a colony.[7]

Formiga played in the Swedish Damallsvenskan as a member of Malmö FF Dam, and for both Santa Isabel and Saad in her homeland of Brazil.[8] Formiga was the first overall pick for the newly inaugurated Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league in the United States in the 2008 WPS International Draft, selected by FC Gold Pride of Santa Clara, California.[9] Formiga started 15 of her 16 games for Gold Pride in their inaugural season in 2009. The following season, Formiga played for Chicago Red Stars, alongside compatriot Cristiane.[10] In 2011, Formiga returned to her country to play for São José.

International careerEdit

Formiga first played for Brazilian women's national team at the age of 17, as part of the squad for the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup, playing as a substitute. The following year, during the inaugural tournament for women's football at the 1996 Summer Olympics, she became a regular starter in the Brazilian team. Formiga and Pretinha were the only two Brazilian players who participated in the first four Olympic Games tournaments of women's football, winning the silver medal in both 2004 and 2008 – both finals lost to the United States.[6] She returned in the 2012 and 2016 tournaments, setting an outright record as the only player present in all six editions of the Olympics tournament.[11][12]

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup is Formiga’s record-breaking seventh consecutive tournament appearance;[13] Lothar Matthäus, Antonio Carbajal, and Rafael Márquez share the record of five consecutive appearances in the men's competition.[14] Along the way, Formiga's Brazil reached third place in 1999 and were runners-up to Birgit Prinz's Germany in 2007.[6] Formiga became the competition's oldest goalscorer with a goal against South Korea on 9 June 2015.[15] She was 37 years, three months and six days old.[16]

Formiga also won the gold medal in three editions of the Pan American Games, 2003, 2007 and 2015,[6] and winning the silver in 2011 when Brazil were beaten by Canada.

Formiga retired from the Brazilian national team in 2016, but returned in 2018 to compete in the Copa América Femenina, in Chile.[17] She also appeared for Brazil at the 2019 World Cup, becoming the oldest player in the tournament's history at the age of 41.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Women's Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 – List of Players Brazil" (PDF). FIFA. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Formiga". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  3. ^ "List of Players – Brazil" (PDF). FIFA. 8 June 2015. p. 2. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Profile". Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  5. ^ Gibbs, Lindsay. "41-year-old Formiga is last active Brazilian player who was alive when women's football was illegal". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Formiga" (in Portuguese). Universo Online. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  7. ^ Lyall, Sarah. "Formiga Isn't Going Anywhere". Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Formiga" (in Portuguese). Universo Online. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  9. ^ Elliot, Almond (3 February 2009). "FC Gold Pride signs No. 1 pick Formiga". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  10. ^ "Brazilian midfielder Formiga joins Cristiane on Red Stars". Daily Herald (Arlington Heights). 2 March 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Record-breaking Brazil set bar high". FIFA. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  12. ^ Xinhua (13 July 2016). "Brazilian football star Formiga set to take part in her sixth Olympic Games". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  13. ^ "FIFA Player: Formiga". FIFA. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  14. ^ Kassouf, Jeff (9 June 2015). "Sawa, Formiga set record with 6th World Cups". The Equalizer. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Brazil in record-breaking World Cup win against South Korea". The Guardian. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Formiga, Brazil's supernatural force". FIFA. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Formiga volta a campo pela Seleção nesta quinta" [Formiga returns to the field for the Seleção on Thursday] (in Portuguese). Brazilian Football Confederation. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Brazil's Formiga set to be first player, male or female, to play in seven World Cups". ESPN. Reuters. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.

External linksEdit