To make history, to be the first, but to have the world focusing elsewhere. The talk is not about what has been achieved; of the goals scored or records broken. The questions asked are not about outrageous talent or phenomenal performances but twerking.
That is what it is like to be the best female footballer in 2018.
“Obviously, I was expecting a question about my football skills, how [I was] feeling to stand there and win, but in the end I was really happy to get the award and wasn’t quite thinking about what’s going on in the media and social media,” Ada Hegerberg, the winner of the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or, tells CNN Sport, attempting to cause as few ripples as possible.
Hegerberg is a gifted footballer. She has won a hattrick of Champions League trophies, scored 33 goals in 21 games last season in helping French club Lyon to a fourth league title and broke the record for the number of goals scored in a single Champions League campaign.
Aged 23, her best years are still ahead of her. There is greatness to be achieved for a striker who has already nearly amassed 300 career goals.
It was expected that the first female winner of what is regarded as the most prestigious individual prize in football would make headlines. The Norwegian will now always be remembered. But there will also be a footnote, an aside about DJ Martin Solveig and how he asked her to twerk on stage. On a night which was supposed to be a great leap forward for the women’s game, the spotlight highlighted the progress which still needs to be made.
Hegerberg did not feel harassed, she says. The striker was too overcome with joy at being the recipient of an award which has been presented to men since 1956. “It depends how you look at the situation,” adds the articulate Hegerberg. “I didn’t feel in an awkward position. “Obviously, the question could’ve been asked in another way. When you’re on stage you want to get questions about how you feel winning such an award.”