Ada Hegerberg ends Norway exile and named in squad for World Cup qualifiers

Ada Hegerberg ends Norway exile and named in squad for World Cup qualifiers

by Emily Smith
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Ada Hegerberg is the leading scorer in Women’s Champions League historyFormer Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg has ended her five-year exile from the Norway team.

The 26-year-old Lyon forward stopped playing for the national side because of a perceived lack of respect for female players in Norway.

She has been included in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Poland in April.

Hegerberg, who has 38 goals in 66 games for Norway, may play at this summer’s European Championship in England.

“It feels incredibly good to be back,” she said.

“I will do my part to help us achieve great things, both on and off the field – for football, for Norway, but not least for the next generation.”

Hegerberg, who spent 20 months out with an anterior cruciate ligament injury before returning in October 2021, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the women’s game.

She has won five Women’s Champions League titles, six Division 1 Feminine titles, the French Cup five times and the Norwegian Women’s Cup.

She was named Uefa’s Best Women’s Player in Europe in 2016, won the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018 and was named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2019.

‘I feel like a kid again’ – Hegerberg on comeback from injuryI feel like a little kid again when I play football – Hegerberg on her returnHegerberg eager to ‘get a new story started’Norway coach Martin Sjogren described Hegerberg as “one of the best” in the world and said her return meaning “a lot to the national team”.

“For the most part, we have talked about how we see the future together and not what has happened,” he said.

“It was mostly to do with Ada’s role and how we can make the team even better. The conversations have been very good.”

The Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) had made several unsuccessful attempts to encourage Hegerberg to return to international football.

NFF president and former Norway midfielder Lise Klaveness has attended Lyon matches in recent months.

“I was able to have very honest discussions with the federation, through Lise at first,” Hegerberg said.

“I am very glad to be able to come back with the team and get a new story started.”

Norway, who are three points clear at the top of World Cup qualifying Group F, host Kosovo on 7 April and Poland on 12 April

They have been drawn in a group alongside England, Northern Ireland and Austria at Euro 2022.

Archive: BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2017 Ada Hegerberg reacts to winning the award

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