Ada Hegerberg: Stronger than ever
Ada Hegerberg, the Norwegian International, was at the helm of women’s football in 2018 after winning many individual accolades and team titles with the French club Olympique Lyonnais. But at the beginning of 2020, she sustained an injury before Lyon were due to play Stade de Reims on 26 January 2020. It was later confirmed via an MRI scan that she had ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament. On 28 January, the club announced that she would miss at least the remainder of the season. Her absence was further extended in September 2020 by a stress fracture in her left tibia.
Her return to football took a long time. But she was stronger mentally and physically. On 5 October 2021, the Norwegian forward returned to action on the inaugural night of the very first UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage away to Hacken. On 14 November, she ended her 707-day wait for a goal when she struck against Paris Saint-Germain and added another within three minutes. She was back in the European goals on 9 December with two at Benfica, passing 50 in Europe for Lyon, the first to get that may for a single club.
Ada Hegerberg said that scoring the first goal after returning gave her goosebumps. Hegerberg said: “I’ve just been focused ever since I came back. About doing things very simply, getting back into my rhythm. Obviously, playing against PSG is one of my favorite games to play. I love those games. I was ready mentally. I knew I was ready to score. It was just a fantastic day. We had been longing for this game ever since we had lost the French title last season. It was some night for us as a team and the people of Lyon who came to support us. It was incredible to have that reception from the fans because they were cheering like crazy and gave me goosebumps as well.”
Ada is one of the top footballers in the world right now. She has won several awards before suffering that injury. Hegerberg was awarded the 2016 UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award on 25 August 2016, and in 2017 and 2019 was named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. In 2018 she was the first-ever recipient of the Ballon d’Or Feminin. She holds the record for most goals in a UEFA Women’s Champions League season and is currently the all-time highest goalscorer in UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The Norwegian footballer has already started working for the betterment of women’s football. Hegerberg has had a massive media impact over the past years, widely considered as the number one spokesperson for her sport, given the numerous interviews she gave for women’s football. She has been named one of the most powerful women in sport by several media, including Sports Illustrated.