Ada Hegerberg and Luka Modric named 2018 Ballon d'Or winners


In this photo taken Monday Dec.3, 2018, French DJ and musician Martin Solveig, left, talks to Olympique Lyonnais' Ada Hegerberg, of Norway, during the Golden Ball (Ballon d'Or) award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Women's Ballon d'Or victor Ada Hegerberg has played down suggestions her historic victory appeared to be overshadowed after she was asked to perform a "twerk" live on stage at Monday's ceremony in Paris.

The 23-year-old striker declined and then delivered an excellent speech where she encouraged more women to play football.

The French DJ insisted he has always had the utmost respect for women, saying in a video on Twitter: 'Sincere apologies to anyone I may have offended. Watch the full sequence. I'd imagine something about football.

In a second post, he said he had spoken to Hederberg and that she had understood the joke.

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Hegerberg told BBC Sport she "didn't consider it sexual harassment or anything in the moment".

Journalists since 1956 have voted to recognize the best men's soccer players in the world but only now has France Football Magazine (the award's organizer) conducted similar balloting in women's soccer. "Most importantly congratulations to Ada", Solveig wrote.

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.

"Women's football is taking huge strides and questions and comments like this take away from those strides we have taken".

Hegerberg was one of seven players from the all-conquering Lyon side to feature among the 15 nominees, but she won out thanks to her prolific form in front of goal.

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The Scot has been a constant champion of equality for women in sport, and has repeatedly called out sexism, such as what he witnessed when he hired Amelie Mauresmo as his coach, and in 2017 he famously corrected a reporter for saying Sam Querrey was "the first United States player to reach a major semi-final since 2009", ignoring the obvious achievements of Serena Williams who had won 12 grand slams since 2009.

Luka Modric, Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder, took home the men's trophy - the first time the award hasn't been won by Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in over 10 years.

We wish we could say we were surprised by the incident but, sadly, it follows a long history of women in football not being given the respect and recognition they deserve.

I wanted to end with some words for young girls around the world: "believe in yourselves", she said.

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