“I know I have a voice, and I want to use that voice as much as I can to bring things forward,” she said.
Those values, at the same time, will keep her away from the biggest platform of all: the Women’s World Cup next summer in France. Last year, Hegerberg quit the Norwegian team after determining the organization was not — in her view — doing enough to support the women’s program.
She does not enjoy rehashing her specific grievances anymore, but they had built up over time, she said, until the situation became “unbearable.” Some, including Norway’s federation, have described the move as temporary, a “break” from the team. But Hegerberg insists it is permanent.
The notion that she might rejoin the team for the World Cup next summer now that she has been honored as the world’s best player, she said, was out of the question.
“I was quite clear with them about what I thought needed to be better,” she said. “I gave them the reasons. I wish my national team all the best. I love my country. I wish I could play for them. In this case, I had to move on.”
Hegerberg’s decision to quit the national team kept her up for many sleepless nights, she said. But after she made the announcement, she said she felt a huge weight lifted from her shoulders. The new peace of mind, she mused, has played a role in her ascent as a player.
Last month, a full two weeks before the Ballon d’Or ceremony, a media officer at Olympique Lyon pulled her into a conference room at the team’s training center and asked her if she could keep a secret: France Football, the magazine that has presented the award since 1956, had added a women’s award this year, the media officer said, and she would be the first recipient.