Ada Hegerberg has won the first Women’s Ballon d’Or.
The Lyon striker scored 15 goals to steer her club to Champions League glory.
The three-time Women’s Champions League winner, was named the world’s best female player of 2018, at a gala in Paris on Monday.
This year marked the first time that France Football reserved a Ballon d’Or for women’s players. Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg won the award. She has won the Champions League three times with Lyon and scored a tournament-record 15 goals last season.
“I want to say thanks to France Football. It’s a huge step for women’s football,” Hegerberg said. “I want to end this speech with a message to all young girls in the world. Believe in yourselves.” The 23-year-old went on to say that she won’t be playing for the Norwegian national team next year in the Women’s World Cup.
Taking a stand against what she describes as a lack of respect for female players in Norway, she hasn’t played for the national team since 2017 when it crashed out of the group stage of the Women’s European Championship without scoring a goal. AP quotes her as saying that she will continue the exile so as to preserve her “authenticity and my values, as a person, as a footballer.”
“A lot of things need to be done to make the conditions better for women who play football,” she said. “It’s all about how we respect women’s football. I don’t think the respect has been there. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself. I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn’t working.”
Here’s the top five for the women’s award:
1. Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Lyon)
2. Pernille Harder (Denmark/Wolfsburg)
3. Dzsenifer Maroszan (Germany/Lyon)
4. Marta (Brazil/Orlando Pride)
5. Sam Kerr (Australia/Chicago Red Stars)