- 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.
Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, first female Ballon D'Or winner after scoring over 250 career goals at the age 23, asked to twerk on stage in front of footballing giants and the public watching. Disgusting and really ruined her moment she deserved. Poor. pic.twitter.com/FSz0ozz2T4
— Sean (@SeanWalkerSport) December 3, 2018
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.”
????"I would like to end this speech with some words to young girls all over the world: please believe in yourself." pic.twitter.com/VKSMvpQQZK
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) December 3, 2018
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.
Absolute trash: French DJ Martin Solveig asks Ada Hegerberg to twerk after receiving the first women's Ballon d'Or award. (Love her response, though.) This is the crap female athletes deal with on a daily basis around the world.pic.twitter.com/y2TLe3v4u9
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) December 3, 2018
I see many men are furious. Ada Hegerberg was just awarded the best female player on the planet and she was rudely disrespected. Imagine how everyone one else is treated.
When women tell you the systems of sexism are deep, listen to us.
It doesn't only matter at Ballon d'Or.
— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) December 3, 2018
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.
Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended. My point was : I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women pic.twitter.com/pnZX8qvl4R
— Martin Solveig (@martinsolveig) December 3, 2018