Ada Hegerberg's Class in Con­tro­versy

Soccer 360 - - Champs League -

Without a doubt, Ada Hegerberg is one of the most clin­i­cal play­ers in the women’s game. This sea­son alone the Nor­we­gian scored a mag­nif­i­cent 31 goals in 29 matches for Olympique Lyon. Since join­ing the gi­ants, Hegerberg has en­graved a deep mark on the French game do­mes­ti­cally and among her com­pet­i­tive coun­ter­parts.

It is fit­ting that in 2014 her place of virtue be­came Lyon af­ter a se­nior ca­reer through­out Nor­way and Ger­many. It is a known fact that the fe­male side of the game flour­ishes on French soil – par­tic­u­larly amongst clubs such as Lyon and Paris Saint-Ger­main. Lyon are eas­ily the most dec­o­rated French side in the Di­vi­sion 1 Fem­i­nine with a whop­ping four­teen league ti­tles to their name and a boast­ful first team with top-notch play­ers such as Cana­dian phe­nom Kadeisha Buchanan, Wendie Re­nard and Eu­ge­nie Le Sommer. But to put this kind of power in per­spec­tive one must see sil­ver­ware. For Lyon, it not just the his­tory, the club or its play­ers, but also the sheer truth of their suc­cess.

The club are cur­rently con­sid­ered the strong­est fe­male side in world football, hav­ing won five Cham­pi­ons League ti­tles in­clud­ing three in a row be­tween 2015 and 2018. There­fore, it comes with lit­tle sur­prise that a tal­ented player such as Hegerberg would fit in per­fectly with the club and its ti­tanic am­bi­tions. Cur­rently, the Nor­we­gian boasts over 120 goals in 95 ap­pear­ances and be­gan her Lyon ca­reer in strik­ing style back in 2014 with a whop­ping 26 goals in 22 matches. With such an im­pres­sive goal-scor­ing prow­ess, team suc­cess and sil­ver­ware to en­hance the fact, it is sim­ply a per­fect fit for a player such as Hegerberg to

write his­tory and at­tain the first ever Bal­lon d'Or Féminin.

Af­ter win­ning the award, Hegerberg ad­mit­ted to the New York Times that be­ing the first woman to lift the pres­ti­gious award would in­evitably be the most mas­sive thing to hap­pen in her young ca­reer. In fact, de­spite pro­duc­ing num­bers on the score sheets bet­ter than that of some of her male coun­ter­parts and sport­ing a gi­gan­tic tro­phy cab­i­net with a pre­mier side in France, it is only now - af­ter the daz­zling Bal­lon d’Or cer­e­mony and a sprin­kle of con­tro­versy - where Hegerberg is fi­nally be­ing com­mer­cially rec­og­nized.

It was truly un­for­tu­nate that her new­found recog­ni­tion was spoiled from a piece of un­nec­es­sary con­tro­versy in­volv­ing the cer­e­mony DJ who re­quested her to “twerk” af­ter ac­cept­ing her award. The hur­ri­cane of de­bate that spewed from the in­ci­dent re­in­forced a deeper need, we all much ac­knowl­edge. That is that, yes, there is still a con­ver­sa­tion to be had sur­round­ing the idea of sex­ism in women’s sport, the slanted op­por­tu­ni­ties for fe­male ath­letes pro­fes­sion­ally and our need to re­spect their craft the way we do their male coun­ter­parts.

How­ever, it was Hegerberg who has calmed the storm and led the me­dia to­wards a bet­ter out­look dur­ing the flurry – her ca­reer. “Things blew out of hand,” Hegerberg re­marked to the New York Times. “In that sit­u­a­tion, I didn’t take it bad, at all. I just said ‘no’ and turned be­cause ob­vi­ously, I didn’t want to twerk in front of mil­lions of peo­ple. So it was kind of like an ironic ‘no,’ and I had a laugh be­cause I was there do­ing the Bal­lon d’Or, and that was the only thing I thought about.”

The 23-year-old’s ma­tu­rity to­wards the in­tensely scru­ti­nized sit­u­a­tion was hum­bling and also a fan­tas­tic com­pan­ion to the im­por­tant speech she made whilst ac­cept­ing her award. "This is a huge step for women's football," she said.

"I want to thank France Football, for let­ting us have this op­por­tu­nity. It's such an im­por­tant thing for women's football and to­gether we'll make a dif­fer­ence.

I'd like to leave with some words to young girls all over the world. Please be­lieve in your­selves."

be­cause ob­vi­ously, I didn’t want to twerk in front of mil­lions of peo­pleRIGHT: Ada poses with her Balon d'Or

"I want to thank France Football, for let­ting us have this op­por­tu­nity. It's such an im­por­tant thing for women's football and to­gether we'll make a dif­fer­ence.

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