Forever the first. Ada Hegerberg, 23, is the first player to have received a Golden Ball last December. But the Norwegian striker, who scored 189 goals in 153 games in all competitions with OL since his arrival in 2014, is also a very strong personality. In particular, she decided to stop playing with her national team, who was unhappy with the federation's behavior with regard to women's football. At 23, before the final of the Champions League against Barcelona (18 hours, live on Canal + and TMC, this Saturday) in Budapest (Hungary) where OL can win its 6th European trophy and the 4th of in a row, the best player in the world confides herself without concessions.
Have you always wanted to be a footballer?
ADA HEGERBERG. I have a big brother and a big sister who did not stop playing football. Me, at first, I was with my hot chocolate and I watched them play (Laughter). But from 9-10 years, it quickly became my passion. And quickly, I did not see myself doing anything else.
The Golden Ball, you dream?
No, it was not natural to dream of that. He did not exist. The Champions League is the first thing that attracted me. And today, I won it three times (with Lyon). Being a girl did not stop me from dreaming of football. I saw no limits to being a girl and playing football. For me, woman or man, the values must be the same.
With this Ballon d'Or, do you feel like an ambassador for women's football?
A Golden Ball gives you a louder voice. But I have always considered myself as someone who represents my sport. I have always been responsible. But we must be several to do it. I do not often talk about money. The base of the base is in attitudes, respect for girls who play football. If this basis of respect exists, there will be more means, facilities, investments. Everything is connected. There is an evolution and that's good. But there are still too many beautiful speeches. Some days, I'm exhausted and I wonder what needs to be done to change things. Nothing advances fast enough. But fortunately, most of the time, I am positive and deeply committed.
There are still big blocks in your opinion?
Yes, there! As soon as you have an opinion, that you want to make things happen in the sport, and that you are a woman, you are released: "You want too much right now", "You are a diva" … That speech, that's enough. Everywhere, in the world, in society, it's like that. But I want to be positive. Look at OL. Lyon has been patient, Lyon has invested in the long term. It takes time. It does not happen by snapping your fingers. Or with beautiful speeches. It's thanks to a man, Jean-Michel Aulas. He follows us everywhere, it's impressive, I do not know how he does it (Laughter). Without people like him, it's hard to change things. He showed that women's football exists. We need other great men like him.
You will not compete in the World Cup in France. In 2017, you have set yourself aside from your selection by criticizing the lack of consideration of leaders with regard to women's football …
Yes. A very heavy decision, but well thought out. Culture, the mentality of women's football did not suit me. I could not continue at the highest level in a system where I felt bad. All these speeches – "Go girls, we're behind you", without actions behind, I did not like it. It's a question of ambition. If you have ambition, you must place yourself in the best conditions. Otherwise, do not talk too much. I was super motivated to help the team. It was a kind of tearing.
You hope that it evolves? For an athlete, represent his country …
(She cuts.) But I represent my country anyway. That's what people forget. I am Norwegian, I am very proud to be Norwegian. I do not represent my federation, but I represent my country. It's hard to make such a decision, but it's even harder not to be consistent with oneself and one's values. I'm sick of it when I have an opinion, where when a woman wants to say something, it says "It's a diva" or "She has ego". No, it is not a decision you make when you have ego, but when you can no longer do otherwise with your conscience.
You're not going to have a pinch in the heart watching the World Cup?
I knew the consequences of this decision. I chose my path. I assume.
You're 23, you've already won the Champions League three times, the Golden Ball, what can you still aim for?
Already, win again the Champions League against Barcelona. The hard part is staying at the highest level. Stay at the top, that's what I want. The greatest, they stay at the highest level for a long time.