The first woman to win the Ballon D'Or has responded to the controversy that surrounded the night she was presented with the prestigious award after a comedian asked her if she could "twerk".
Ada Hegerberg, 23, from Norway, was the star of the France Football ceremony earlier this month where she was named as the first recipient of the women's Ballon D'Or.
In a post titled "Not Here To Dance", written for the Players' Tribune, the world-class footballer writes passionately about dedicating herself to the sport and addresses the events of the night, which many people felt was blighted by sexism.
Hegerberg writes: "When I got up onstage to accept my award, everything was calm. Everything was warm. Everything was perfect. I looked out into the crowd and saw so many amazing footballers. The women’s game and the men’s game were side by side.
"What an incredible, beautiful moment. I will not let it be ruined by a stupid joke from a presenter. It didn’t ruin it in the moment. It does not ruin it in my memory."
The award winner said she was unaware of the public discourse her awkward moment on stage with French DJ Martin Solveig had generated when her phone started "blowing up" with messages about the presenter’s comment while she and her family ate dinner.
"That night, we weren’t bothered. We were having the time of our lives," said Hegerberg.
The striker also used her post to discuss the continued calls for equality in sport. She wrote: "I could speak for hours about equality, and what needs to change in football, and in society as a whole. But in the end, everything comes back to respect. RESPECT."
Continuing on the theme of respect, Hegerberg hailed her team Olympique Lyonnais and its chairman, Jean-Michel Aulas, as pioneers for creating an environment where the women's team is invested in and able to thrive.
"I was very fortunate to sign with Olympique Lyonnais, the model for this level of respect. At Lyon, the men’s and the women’s teams are treated as equals. We need more people in the game with the vision of Jean-Michel Aulas, who knows that investing in the women’s game is a win-win for the club and the city and the players," writes Hegerberg, who delivered a call to action for football federations globally.
Her message is clear: "We can do better."
Despite the public outcry, the young player maintains that the evening was the "greatest night" of her life and shares that it ended with her and her family at a little Iranian restaurant.
She concludes the piece to say: "So, no, I’m sorry to say — I cannot twerk. But if you catch me on the right night, and I’m feeling good, and you turn on the perfect Iranian pop song … I can sing my heart out. And I can play a bit of football, too."