History maker Ada Hegerberg reveals what happened on the greatest night of her life


On December 3, Ada Hegerberg made history. The 23-year-old who plays for Lyon and Norway became the first ever winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or. Once the dust had settled on her sensational achievement, she spoke to The Players’ Tribune about how it all unfolded.

Two weeks before the actual ceremony took place, Hegerberg was informed by one of her assistant coaches at Lyon that she was going to win the Ballon d’Or.

She agreed to keep the secret but that lasted ten minutes before she FaceTimed her parents to tell them the amazing news. For a fortnight, Hegerberg was in a state of disbelief that this was really happening to her. She thought:

“You’re going to win the Ballon d’Or.

This can’t be true.

You’re the little girl from the tiny Norwegian village.

This must be a dream.”

The Players’ Tribune

Of course, it wasn’t a dream and Hegerberg had “the most fantastic night of her life” being recognised and rewarded for what she does best.

At 23, Hegerberg has won the Ligue 1 Feminine (for four consecutive seasons), Coupe de France (x3) and the Champions League (with Lyon.

She is a remarkable player and fully deserving of becoming the inaugural Ballon d’Or Feminin winner which honours the best female football player in the world.

The incredibly talented striker scored 53 goals last season, including a record 15 in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

This accomplishment, among others, led to Hegerberg being in the same room as some of the best footballers in the world. She said:

“I was surrounded by love and respect. I was surrounded by footballers. Legends. People who understood the sacrifice.

I couldn’t stop smiling.”

The Players’ Tribune
PhotoAurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Hegerberg made sure she enjoyed every moment of the special evening as she recalled:

“I’m standing there shoulder to shoulder with Mbappé and Modrić, and all the cameras are flashing, and we’re laughing. There is nothing better than that. It was the most fantastic night of my life. Not because of the award, but because of the respect that was in the room. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

The Players’ Tribune

Hegerberg will not be showcasing her talents for the world to see at the Women’s World Cup next year with Norway who are in Group A alongside hosts France, South Korea and Nigeria, having not played for her country since 2017.


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