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Ada Hegerberg wins BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year

Norway and Olympique Lyonnais’ Ada Hegerberg has been crowned the winner of BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year2017. The annual award from the BBC World Service – now in its third year – is voted for by football fans from around the world.

On winning the award, Ada Hegerberg said: “It’s a huge honour to win with such big name footballers nominated. It’s such a boost, such a great feeling, it gives you self-belief and confidence after what you put down in training every day. It’s really special – so many people from different cultures and countries voting for this trophy, it’s a huge motivation in itself.”

BBC presenter Sarah Mulkerrins revealed the winner during Sport Today on BBC World Service and on World Sportsday on BBC World News. The trophy was presented to Hegerberg by her sister and international team mate Andrine Hegerberg who plays for Birmingham Ladies.

Reflecting on her past year and achievements, Ada Hegerberg said: “Lifting the Champions League trophy last year was a huge moment…I dreamed of it as a little kid, it’s a huge challenge and we showed we were capable of doing it. The most important thing is to enjoy the game of course, its hard work, you have bad days, but at the end, you have to enjoy the game. Lyon is a fantastic club. (I train with) world class players every day, I get to challenge myself. It’s a special place to be.”

When asked what she thought of the women’s game, she added: “I think the women’s game is always growing, it’s taken huge steps in 10 years and it’s up to us to see it developing, it’s at a good level but it is up to us to maintain that quality to be good idols for future generations.”

Hegerberg emerged as the winner from a shortlist of some of the top names in women’s football. Brazil and Orlando Pride’s Marta came in second, while Canada and Portland Thorns’ Christine Sinclair was third place in the public vote. Melanie Behringer (Germany and Bayern Munich) and Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden and Chelsea) completed the five player shortlist.

Hegerberg is the third player to win BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year, following Kim Little in 2016 and Asisat Oshoala in 2015.

Mary Hockaday, Controller of BBC World Service English, said: “Huge congratulations to Ada Hegerberg for winning the 2017 BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. We’re all looking forward to watching how she gets on at the Champions League Final as this massive year for women’s sport gets well and truly under way.”

21 year-old Hegerberg played a significant role in her French club’s treble-winning season, including winning the Champions League. The Norway international scored the opening goal in the final against German side Wolfsburg and achieved her dream of lifting the trophy when they won 4-3 on penalties, adding the European crown to their Couple de France and Division One titles.

She was the only player to score more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo in the UEFA competitions last year. She was voted UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe for 2016 and became the first female winner in 20 years of Norway’s Golden Ball award for the country’s best footballer. Since making her top-flight Norwegian debut for Kolbotn at the age of 15, Hegerberg finished top scorer in 2011, leading to a move to Norwegian club Stabaek along with her sister Andrine.

They won the Norwegian Cup 4-0 against Roa with Ada scoring a hat-trick in the final and she finished the league’s top scorer on 25 goals. That success earned the two Hegerbergs a move to Germany’s Turbine Potsdam and a second-place finish in 2012-13 season. She caught the eye of arguably the biggest club in Europe, signing for Olympique Lyonnais in 2014. Two Division One titles, a Champions League and two Coupe de France trophies followed. Hegerberg will now add the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2017 trophy to her cabinet and now heads into the Champions League Final in Cardiff.