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

Lynette Rowe
December 4, 2018

France Football magazine has been awarding the Ballon d'Or - until now only to men - since 1956, when Matthews was the first victor.

Hegerberg called the award "a huge step for women's football" and also told The Associated Press she feels "very proud" to be the first Ballon d'Or-winning woman.

"For the first time a woman will win football's highest honour". People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women.

Hegerberg won the Women's Ballon d'Or after scoring a record 15 goals in the UEFA Women's Champions League, which she won with French club Olympique Lyonnais.

She had just been crowned the best women's player in world football but then French DJ Solveig, hosting the awards with former footballer David Ginola, went and asked her whether she could twerk.

"It's all about how we respect women's football", she said. Sometimes you have to take tough decisions to stay true to yourself.

The men's award was taken out by Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, ending a decade of dominance by Modric's former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

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She stepped away from playing with Norway's national team, citing longstanding frustrations over the state of women's soccer there.

Hegerberg's goals have also fired Lyon into the quarter-finals of the Champions League, where they face a rematch with Wolfsburg next year.

Ada Hegerberg wins the 2018 Ballon D'Or.

"Modric is an exceptional player". "He must have grown up in a very hard context and I wonder if that helped him to have the character he has".

Earlier in the night, Kylian Mbappe was named victor of the Kopa Trophy for young player of the year. The reaction to Solveig, who was featured throughout the Ballon d'Or gala, drew gasps from the crowd and a look of bewilderment from Kylian Mbappe, who earlier had won the first Kopa Trophy going to the world's best player under 21.

The new award - named after French former Ballon d'Or victor Raymond Kopa - was voted for by 33 living former winners of the main Ballon d'Or prize.

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