Rebeca Tavares: Her untold footballing story

Rebeca Tavares

In an exclusive interview with Her Football Hub, Rebeca Tavares tells us about her personal footballing experiences that some may have overlooked.

A lot of people only know Rebeca Tavares as the wife of Liverpool midfielder, Fabinho. However, Brazilian-born Rebeca has her own footballing stories.

Rebeca grew up in a family who are huge fans of the beautiful game – she has also played domestic football herself.

Today she is retired and even if she misses the game, she doesn’t regret quitting it. Rebeca took the time to talk to our own Audrey Corminboeuf about her personal experiences — here is her story.

When asked by a fan on Twitter if she would take an opportunity to play professional football, she answered, “It’s difficult to say, but I think now for me it would be difficult to dedicate my full time in playing football.”

Early footballing life

Rebeca was born in Brazil on December 2, 1994. She moved to Spain when she was six years old and grew up there. This is where she experienced her first memory of football.

“My family are a typical Brazilian family, we always watched football and I’ve loved football since I was a kid,” she says.

“I remember one moment in particular that made me start watching and also playing football. It was when Ronaldinho started playing in Europe. His style captivated me.”

As a Brazilian, football is in her blood. Rebeca is the youngest of three children and started playing football at an early age.

It wasn’t long before Rebeca joined a club. Firstly, she played as an attacker in Spain for a few years before moving to Monaco with her husband.

Rebeca played for AS Monaco Women until Fabinho joined Liverpool FC and the family relocated again.

Rebeca Tavares poses with her AS Monaco Football Féminin jersey
Rebeca Tavares poses with her AS Monaco Football Féminin jersey. (Photo by AS Monaco Football Féminin)

A stigma on women’s football

When Rebeca first started to play, it wasn’t thought highly of women playing football. She expresses how difficult it was for her to talk about wanting to be a professional football player. She was often told that “football isn’t for women”.

The mentalities have now changed and even if there is still work to be done, it’s no longer rare that a girl dreams of becoming a footballer.

“Now when a young girl says that she wants to be a football player, people are more supportive than before and that’s a big step forward,” Rebeca says.

Having played in Spain and France, Rebeca has developed her own opinion about the evolution of European football.

“I think that the strongest European teams are in France. However, women in Spain and England are getting more and more involved with football and that is good for the sport.”

Rebeca Tavares during training

A disappointing end for Brazil

With this year’s Women’s World Cup in France, people have enjoyed an entertaining tournament. As a fan, Rebeca of course also enjoyed watching the games.

“It was very emotional as a woman to see how it [the game] has grown.”

Rebeca Tavares on watching the 2019 Women’s World Cup

She was cheering for the Seleçao and was sad to see them knocked out by France in the Round of 16. But Rebeca took much more from the tournament than Brazil’s defeat.

She said, “I was very happy watching how women’s football has conquered the space it deserves.”

Rooting for Brazil, Rebeca admires the star of the team, Marta. “Marta always had a big influence in my life,” Rebeca says. “She was my role model in football. When I was young I was always saying that I wanted to be like her.” 

After the defeat against the host country, a tearful Marta sent a message to the young Brazilian girls. She asked them to train more, to want more and to give more to football.

The Brazilian forward added, “There is not going to be a Formiga forever, a Marta forever, a Cristiane. Women’s football is relying on you to survive. Think about it, value it more. Cry in the beginning to smile at the end.”

“It was so powerful and so true. We can’t stop,” Rebeca agrees. “Now is the time for young girls to continue the legacy, to achieve big and develop women’s football. For women, football has to be more than just a ‘men’s sport’.”

The best is yet to come

Even though Rebeca has stopped playing, she remains attentive to the evolution of women’s football and keeps supporting her former team AS Monaco.

“It has grown a lot but it not enough. We need to keep going,” she insists.

Now based in Liverpool, Rebeca has discovered another level of women’s football.

In Monaco, the women’s team is independent from the men’s club. A step that a few clubs still need to take in order to offer the same chances to female athletes.

Rebeca comments, “I would like to see equality, but for that we have to continue growing more and more and pushing each other.”

Women’s football has a bright future and the best of it is yet to come. Rebeca says optimistically, “I believe football will one day be only football – no matter if there are 22 women or 22 men playing.”