Ada Hegerberg: It’s ‘impossible to not be standing for equality,’ says Ada Hegerberg

Ada Hegerberg: It’s ‘impossible to not be standing for equality,’ says Ada Hegerberg

“I’m so, so sorry, I really hate being late!” she said, visibly upset despite the delay of only four minutes scheduled for the start of this interview. Not surprisingly, being late is not in the vocabulary of a striker whose brilliant career was built on her ability to be in the right place at the right time on a football field.

Deadly in front of the goal – she has scored more than 300 career goals – the Norwegian gives nothing less than 100% to the sport she loves.

This attitude has earned him a series of distinctions in recent years. She is the first woman to win the Ballon d’Or, the biggest individual prize in world football, and the best scorer of all time in the Women’s Champions League, a competition she has won a record four times with her Lyonnais Olympic Club.
But in January, just before the world was suspended, Hegerberg was forced to hit break for the first time in his career after suffering a late season ACL injury during a training session.

After months of rehabilitation in the midst of a global pandemic, the 26-year-old says she has gained a new perspective.

“I think this is the perfect time and opportunity to step back and discover other aspects of my game, and to explore other arenas where you can step back and learn a lot and be better prepared when you come back to the field, ”she explains. .

“My philosophy is that when I come back, I really want to be stronger than ever, and for that, you need time and you have to know your body, your mind and know when the right time is to come back.”

Hegerberg kisses the UEFA Women's Champions League trophy after Lyon defeated Barcelona in Budapest on May 18, 2019.

One of the ways she has gained perspective is to watch all the sports documentaries she can. And there was one in particular that fascinated her – The Last Dance, a series of 10 series that follows Michael Jordan’s last tumultuous season with the Chicago Bulls.

“Oh, I’m so glad you asked me about The Last Dance! I just finished the last episode and I didn’t want it to end,” said Hegerberg.

“It is very interesting to see the philosophy of coach Phil Jackson in terms of team management. It is a very, very valuable lesson for me as an athlete too, to see how he coaches a team Basically, having the best players in a group and knowing how to get the most out of each one. “

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Despite being one of the most famous strikers in the world, and with a reputation for being the most competitive player on her team, Hegerberg is hesitant to make comparisons between her and Jordan – but with one exception.

“What really attracted me was the episode where he talked about how much it took to win and how much it took him to be that winning character,” she says of the ruthlessly competitive Jordan.

“When he talks about the fact that he is alone at the top and that he became emotional at the end of an episode … It really attracted me because I really understood what he meant. I invest everything in football every day to be successful. “

Hegerberg poses with Luka Modric (left), winner of the 2018 Ballon d'Or, and Kylian Mbappe, winner of the Ballon d'Or under 21 (Koppa trophy).

Hegerberg continues to sacrifice his place on the Norwegian national team.

After deliberately making the decision to leave the women’s team in 2017 because of his team’s unfair treatment of men, Hegerberg was supported by the United States national women’s team, and in particular Megan Rapinoe, in their fight for equal pay.

Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed the players’ claims of unequal pay, but allowed their allegations of discriminatory working conditions to be tried. Lawyers for the players asked to postpone the trial, which is currently scheduled for June 16.

“The American team is full of great characters,” said the Norwegian. “Rapinoe has always had the courage to defend the sport and we really need numbers like that.” She took a beating for all of us at times, defending what she believes in, and we need it.

“Being a female footballer today – it is impossible not to defend equality. That is why we must be together on this point in order to make a change for the future.”

However, the future looks uncertain for women’s football.

In England, the rest of the Women’s Super League (WSL) and Championship seasons have been canceled due to the pandemic. In France, elite sport is suspended until September, while the European Women’s Championship is postponed to 2022.

There is concern that the ongoing pandemic will erode the progress of women’s football during and after the 2019 Women’s World Cup, which was a resounding success.

Hegerberg says she is particularly concerned about the impact of playing behind closed doors. In Germany, the Frauen-Bundesliga will resume on May 29 with all matches played behind closed doors.

“Our recognition comes from the number of people who attend our games,” says Hegerberg. “It was a very good trend before this crisis. It was one of the main objectives, to get people to matches, to draw more attention to women’s football week after week. But being in a situation like this , that stops this good We have to face [that] and keep pushing so as not to lose this positive development. “

As Hegerberg prepares for a return to sport, whenever possible, she and her husband are grateful that they can finally watch live football on television.

Hegerbereg’s husband is Thomas Rogne, who plays for the Polish team Lech Poznan. She was recently able to join him in Poland after isolating herself in France – although the return of the German Bundesliga meant a special occasion almost passed by the pair.

“It’s our one year anniversary!” she says.

“We woke up and a family member said to us and we said to ourselves” What? “We were thinking more about watching a Bundesliga game, so we had something else in mind.”

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