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Ada Hegerberg, striker from the future: “My goals, for the players of tomorrow”

Cristiano Ronaldo, only on Instagramhas long since breached i 400 million of followers. The counter of followed profiles, instead, it barely stands 500, mostly friends, sponsors and colleagues. Among these, one stands out Norwegian footballer who – just like the Portuguese phenomenon – has intertwined his career with the history of Golden Ball. Yes why Ada Hegerbergthe strongest goalscorer ever in maximum European tournament, in 2018 it won the first female edition of the prestigious award.

True icon, on and off the pitchchosen last October as DAZN Global Women’s Football Ambassador. On the other hand, who better than her: she only has 26 years and has already won 5 Champions League. She is chasing the sixth with his Lyonreturned from a long injury that kept her away from the spotlight for over two seasons. “But I never thought of quit», He reveals to us on the eve of the return of the round of 16 with the Juventus (live on Thursday 31 March at 9pm on DAZN). «Playing, for me, is too great a joy“.

What is your earliest football-related memory?
«An old Roma shirt that was handed down to me by my older brother. We can say that it all started like this ».

Did you play in mixed teams as a child? What sensations did she have?
«Yes, at 13 we decided it was time for me to participate in women’s championships. But before, it was normal for me to play with boys. And I’ve always scored: from the first day I set foot on a football field, I felt there was a feeling with the goal ».

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The feeling was right, since he has signed an avalanche. What if I asked you to pick one?
«I played 4 Champions League finals and scored 5 goals (historic hat-trick against Barcelona in 2019), obviously those are the most special for me. Then there are the goals with the national team, at the World Cup and at the European Championships: but I hope that other important goals are yet to arrive, I train for this ».

Where would you place the turning point of your career?
«When my father (former footballer, ed) told me and my sister Andrine that he would coach us. If he was just a hobby, he would just be cheering us on. But no, he said those words, so I knew it was getting serious. Then when I was 16 they called me to the national team and there you realize that football will become your life ».

Speaking of the national team, in 2017 he ditched it due to the “women-men disparities”. She is back today: what made her turn around?
«At 22 it was a difficult decision, the result of many reflections on how female selections were treated. I am a very demanding person and for me that was the only possible solution, I would not change anything I did. Now things within the Federation have changed: I want to see them with my own eyes, I’m sure there are still many aspects to improve ».

What particularly bothered you?
«The most important thing for me is to have the opportunity to express myself in the way I prefer. At the time I felt like I was locked in a box, today I feel that it is no longer the case. But I would like every female athlete in the world to be free to express their opinion without someone telling her that she is hysterical or throwing a little misogyny in her face. “

Have you ever experienced sexism in the first person?
“Fortunately not, at least physically. But I have heard and seen other women being victims, in sport and in society. I think that in terms of gender equality, we are still at the beginning ».

Is there a stereotype that, more than the others, annoys you?
«Being devalued as a woman, with the classic phrase ‘man would do this better’. I don’t think there is a better or a worse, sometimes I think there is simply a “different”, and we should accept that diversity ».

In the sense, not two weights-two measures.
“The point is that if a woman is demanding, someone will say she is a difficult person. If, on the other hand, you are the man who is demanding, then it will usually be said that you are professional. Well, I have been considered difficult, but in my career I have only asked what my male colleagues rightly take for granted in their daily lives. So I don’t consider myself difficult, but demanding ».

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When there is something to say, I don’t think he is holding back. Do you feel the responsibility of a movement behind you?
“Yes, I feel it. And I’ve never been afraid to talk. So if my voice can help trigger a change, I gladly use it. And I’d like it to have a positive impact on young girls too, pushing them to have more self-confidence. “

Is this the teaching you would give to the new generations?
“I understand it may sound like a cliché, but for me this is the basis of everything: believe in yourself, because no one will do it for you. The first step is always to convince yourself that, with work, you can get anywhere you want. Conversely, the lack of trust can become a huge burden ».

And what advice do you receive from your husband (Thomas Rogne, also a footballer)? Do you ever challenge yourself in training?
“Of course. When we are together, we do training sessions together. We love to do it and we exchange tips. Then on the pitch he is better at defending, on the other hand it is his role. As a striker, I am stronger when it comes to finishing ».

In conclusion, precisely, you who have lived these last 15 years of women’s football, in what do you see him improved?
“First of all, the coverage has changed drastically: you can watch matches all over Europe and the media are starting to talk about it (DAZN is at the forefront to improve the visibility of pink sports and athletes, removing audience barriers, ed). Then it must be said that the big clubs have joined, which now also have a women’s team ».

Where, on the other hand, should we intervene?
“There is a lot of work to be done in terms of consideration, respect and investments that should be oriented above all downwards: we need to invest in young girls, so that they can grow in an environment that pushes them to bring out the best”.

And maybe make the careers of the favorites they admire in the posters. As a child, who did you keep on the wall?
“I don’t actually remember any posters in my room. On the other hand, however, I have always been fascinated by Cristiano Ronaldo: when his talent exploded at European level, I was about ten years old, so for me he was a myth. Unfortunately, due to a reduced possibility of accessing women’s football, I didn’t have many female players to admire ».

Today, in the bedrooms of tomorrow’s champions, it is easy to find us Ada Hegerberg. Perhaps, just in place of CR7.

Source: Vanity Fair

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