Norway’s professional women’s football player Ada Hegerberg shared the stage with none other than Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo when both were named Europe’s best football players in Monte Carlo Thursday evening. It was a milestone for Hegerberg, and for Norway.
Hegerberg isn’t anywhere the household name that Ronaldo is, but she’s definitely caught the attention and won the respect of football journalists all over Europe. They’re the ones who voted for the best player of the year from 55 countries that are members of the European football association UEFA. From the top three players, a UEFA jury chose the winners.
It’s the fourth time UEFA ranked a female player of the year, and Hegerberg’s three forerunners were all from Germany. At just 21, and with a long career still ahead of her, that makes Hegerberg’s selection all the more special for Norwegian football.
She was chosen after scoring 54 goals in 34 matches for Lyon of France last season. She was top scorer in the Champions League with 13 goals and played a key role in propelling Lyon toward winning its league, its cup and the Champions League.
Commentators in Norway were noting that they couldn’t have done any better, but Hegerberg isn’t resting on her laurels. “I have to go for 60 goals this season,” she told newspaper Dagsavisen. “My ambitions are the same as before.”
She called it “a great honour” to stand next to Ronaldo with the trophy. “It’s a fantastic feeling,” said the young football star who hails from Sunndalsøra in the mountains of central Norway. Before heading for Lyon, she played for Kolbotn and Stabæk in Norway and Turbine Potsdam in Germany.