Ever since 1956, France Football has presented the Ballon d’Or trophy to the world’s best men’s football player for that particular year.
On Monday — this Monday, in the year 2018 Anno Domini — Ada Hegerberg, a striker for France’s Lyon and Norway women’s national soccer team, became the first-ever winner of the female Ballon d’Or.
It was a touching moment. She thanked her teammates, her club, the French football federation, and ended her speech with a message to young girls: “Please, believe in yourself.”
Then, just moments later, while she was still on stage holding her award, French DJ Martin Solveig asked her — the sport’s best female athlete in the world — to “twerk.” Yes. Twerk.
Hegerberg immediately shut him down with a firm, ” No.”
Martin Solveig really asked Ada Hegerberg, the first ever Ballon D’Or winner, to twerk. The absolute disrespect bruh. pic.twitter.com/Mtc5DBjS7a
— A West (@ayyy_west) December 3, 2018
The superstar has 272 career goals and three Champions League titles to her name. In the 2017-18 season, according to Kim McCauley of SB Nation, she scored 42 goals across all competitions, including 14 in the Champions League. She’s only 23 years old. She was, in short, an incredibly deserving recipient of this award, and it’s beyond infuriating that a buffoon of a man had to shoehorn in on her inspirational moment of jubilee and achievement with such a blatant form of sexism.
Then again, it’s almost fitting — it’s a reminder that even though top federations in soccer are finally acknowledging that women exist, the fight for equality in women’s soccer is far from over. Hegerberg knows this better than anyone.
She is no stranger to standing up to sexism. Hegerberg is unlikely to play in the Women’s World Cup next summer in France because of an ongoing dispute she has with the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) over its support — or lack thereof — for women’s soccer. She stepped back from the team after last year’s European Championship. Norway was subsequently knocked out of Euro2017 after failing to score a single goal.
“Football is the biggest sport in Norway for girls and has been for years but at the same time girls don’t have the same opportunities as the boys. Norway has a great history of women’s football but it’s harder now,” she said.
While it’s not clear whether she has patched things up with the federation, the NFF is moving in the right direction — last fall, it signed a historic agreement offering equal pay to its male and female players on the national team.