Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg said the introduction of a women’s Ballon d’Or was a “big step forward” for the game, playing down suggestions her historic victory was overshadowed after being asked to perform a “twerk” live on stage. The Lyon star -- whose prolific form in front of goal helped the French club secure a third successive Champions League victory -- edged out Danish forward Pernille Harder to claim the inaugural prize at a ceremony in Paris on Monday.
But the 23-year-old was asked if she would perform a sexually provocative dance by French host DJ, Martin Solveig, and appeared embarrassed as she rejected the request. Hegerberg later said: “He came to see me after and apologised. The Ballon d’Or is the most important thing.” “I am touched and very proud, for women’s football, for myself, for the club. I share this with Olympique Lyonnais, my teammates, the staff,” she beamed after joining men’s winner Luka Modric and men’s best young player Kylian Mbappe on the stage with her trophy.
“It’s historic, it’s incredible, a great day for women’s football and a big step forward.” Hegerberg, one of seven players from the all-conquering Lyon side to feature among the 15 nominees, dismissed suggestions that the night was marred by the “twerk” request. “I didn’t feel it was like that at all to be honest and I am sad if people thought about the situation like that.” Solveig later tweeted an apology, saying Hegerberg “told me she understood it was a joke”.
“Nevertheless my apologies to anyone who may have been offended.” “People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women,” he added. Hegerberg was Lyon’s top scorer with 15 goals in the Champion’s League -- including one in the final in Kiev in May, as Lyon came from behind to beat VfL Wolfsburg 4-1 after extra time and retain the trophy. Harder had put the Germans in front in that game.