- France Football has awarded the Ballon d’Or — soccer’s highest individual honor — to a men’s player every year since 1956.
- For the first time ever, France Football awarded the honor to a female player.
- Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg — who has scored 185 goals in 149 games since joining Lyon four years ago — earned the inaugural female Ballon d’Or.
- After presenting the award to Hegerberg, French DJ Martin Solveig asked her to twerk.
- The 23-year-old replied with a firm no and walked off the stage as Solveig laughed.
- The crowd, and social media, clearly disapproved of Solveig’s sexist question.
Ada Hegerberg broke a major barrier for female soccer players by becoming the first woman to receive the Ballon d’Or, the highest individual honor in the sport.
The 23-year-old’s big moment was tainted by an inappropriate and sexually charged comment from the presenter.
After presenting the award, French DJ Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg to twerk on stage. Hegerberg’s smile fell off her face and she replied with a firm no as she exited the stage while Solveig laughed.
Unlike Solveig, the crowd at the awards ceremony was not amused. The camera immediately panned to French footballer and this year’s Kopa Trophy winner Kylian Mbappé, who looked appalled by Solveig’s comment. The rest of the audience remained silent.
Hegerberg — who has scored 185 goals in 149 games since joining Lyon four years ago — mentioned what an important moment this was for women in soccer and closed her speech with a message to young girls around the world.
“I want to say thanks to France Football,” Hegerberg said, per ESPNW. “It’s a huge step for women’s football. I want to end this speech with a message to all young girls in the world. Believe in yourselves.”
Hegerberg is no stranger to the disrespect often levied at female footballers. The prolific striker has abstained from playing for Norway’s national team since 2017 because of the country’s treatment of its women’s national team.
“A lot of things need to be done to make the conditions better for women who play football,” Hegerberg said. “It’s all about how we respect women’s football. I don’t think the respect has been there. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself. I let them know, quite clearly, what I found wasn’t working.”
Solveig received near-immediate backlash to his comments on social media.
Solveig apologized shortly after the conclusion of the ceremony, blaming a language and cultural barrier for the confusion. He asked the question in his native tongue.