Lyon and Norway star Ada Hegerberg has won the 2018 women’s Ballon d’Or award.
The 23-year-old striker beat Denmark star Pernille Harder, Lyon team-mate Dzsenifer Marozsan, Brazil icon Marta and Australia’s Sam Kerr to claim the inaugural title on Monday.
Hegerberg finished last season as the French league’s top scorer with 31 goals and netted 15 in the Champions League as Lyon went on to win the competition. She has kept up that form this term, too, with 12 league goals and a further four in Europe. Overall, she has scored 185 goals in 149 games since signing for Lyon four years ago.
“It is fantastic. I don’t have words. This is unbelievable. It’s a big moment for me, ” Hegerberg said as she accepted her award at the ceremony in France.
“This is a great moment for me. I want to say thank you to my teammates. It would not have been possible without you, thank you! Thanks to the technical staff, and to my club. And to one man in particular, Jean-Michel Aulas, our president. Thank you for everything you do for women’s football.”
She ended her speech with words of encouragement for young women across the world, saying:“Please, believe in yourself!”
Hegerberg was the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2016 and has won the league, Coupe de France and Champions League three times apiece with Lyon.
Despite her continued success, however, she us unlikely to compete at the World Cup in France next year over a dispute with the Norwegian Football Association. Hegerberg claims the women’s game has been shown a lack of respect amid low investment and player wages, causing her to step back from the national team indefinitely.