Luka Modric ended a decade of dominance by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or but the Croatian’s win was overshadowed when the inaugural winner of the women’s award, Ada Hegerberg, was asked to twerk live on stage by the host DJ, Martin Solveig.
Hegerberg, who helped Lyon to the French title and Champions League, scoring in the final, pipped Denmark’s Pernille Harder to the prize but appeared embarrassed when asked by Solveig if she wanted to dance in celebration and “knew how to twerk”.
A clip of Solveig asking Hegerberg if she wanted to dance and whether she knew how to twerk is being shared widely on social media. The Norwegian star, who hasn’t played for her national team since Women’s Euro 2017, was seen saying “non” in French before reluctantly agreeing to dance to another song.
Twerk is used to refer dancing to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.
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
“I explained to [Ada] and she told me she understood it was a joke,” Solveig wrote. “Nevertheless, my apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Most importantly, congratulations to Ada.”
I explained to @AdaStolsmo the buzz and she told me she understood it was a joke. Nevertheless my apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Most importantly congratulations to Ada pic.twitter.com/DATdg0TfQk
— Martin Solveig (@martinsolveig) December 3, 2018
“He came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way,” the Norwegian forward said. “I didn’t really consider it sexual harassment or anything in the moment. I was just happy to do the dance and win the Ballon d’Or.”
This is @AdaStolsmo.
She's the first ever female #BallonDor winner, and no sexist remark will ever change that.
Herstory being made 💪pic.twitter.com/IV9nKzJXKQ
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) December 3, 2018
Taking a stand against what she describes as a lack of respect for female players in Norway, Hegerberg hasn’t played for the national team since they crashed out of the group stage of the Women’s European Championship in 2017 without scoring a goal.
Hegerberg told The Associated Press she has no plans to reconsider her decision taken to preserve her “authenticity and my values, as a person, as a footballer.”
“A lot of things need to be done to make the conditions better for women who play football,” she 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.”
The three-time Women’s Champions League winner with French team Lyon says she’ll be resting during the World Cup and training for the next season with her club.
“I wish the national team the best, though. We just follow two different paths at the moment,” she said. “I have no regrets with the decision I made.” A jury of 45 journalists picked her from among 15 nominees for the inaugural Ballon d’Or for women.
Hegerberg, who scored a tournament-record 15 Women’s Champions League goals last season, said winning the trophy “tops everything” and described it as “a huge step for women’s football.” “It’s not that often that I use the word ‘proud’ but today I’m really proud,” she said.