Women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg asked if she can ‘twerk’

The co-host of the Ballon d’Or award ceremony has been forced to apologise after the winner of the women’s award, Ada Hegerberg, was asked on stage if she knew how to twerk at the event in Paris.

The 23-year-old Lyon striker was announced as the first ever winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or by former France international David Ginola and gave an empowering speech to encourage more girls to play football.

However, as the Norway international was leaving the stage, French DJ and co-host Martin Solveig, who had been playing music during the ceremony and also danced with Hegerberg to Frank Sinatra, asked her if she could twerk. But the three-time women’s Champions League winner laughed awkwardly as she turned away from the DJ and abruptly said ‘no’ before walking away. 

A clip of the exact moment she was asked soon went viral on social media with the reaction of a baffled Kylian Mbappe, also highlighting the surprise at Solveig’s line of questioning when he asked ‘Est-ce que tu sais twerk?’ – ‘Can you twerk?’. 

Mbappe won the Raymond Kopa Trophy awarded to the best young player. Luka Modric won the main men’s award.

Martin Solveig was at the centre of a sexism row after asking Ada Hegerberg if she can 'twerk'

Martin Solveig was at the centre of a sexism row after asking Ada Hegerberg if she can 'twerk'

Martin Solveig was at the centre of a sexism row after asking Ada Hegerberg if she can ‘twerk’

The Lyon striker, who won the women's Ballon d'Or award, was left unimpressed by the DJ

The Lyon striker, who won the women's Ballon d'Or award, was left unimpressed by the DJ

The Lyon striker, who won the women’s Ballon d’Or award, was left unimpressed by the DJ

Hegerberg poses with the honour on the Champs Elysees in front of the Arc de Triomphe

Hegerberg poses with the honour on the Champs Elysees in front of the Arc de Triomphe

Hegerberg poses with the honour on the Champs Elysees in front of the Arc de Triomphe

Solveig was quick to apologise after his actions provoked furious criticism on social media.

Accompanied by a video apologising further to Hegerberg, Solveig wrote on Twitter: ‘Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended.

‘My point was: I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence.

‘People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women.’

After the event, Hegerberg told reporters that she accepted the apology from the 42-year-old.

She was quoted on skysports.com saying: ‘He came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way. I didn’t really think about it at the time to be honest.

‘I didn’t really consider it as sexual harassment or anything in the moment. I was just happy to do the dance and win the Ballon d’Or to be honest.’

Tennis star Andy Murray spoke out against the ‘twerk’ comments on his Instagram story describing it as ‘another example of the ridiculous sexism that still exists in sport’.  

An unimpressed Murray wrote: ‘Why do women still have to put up with that s***? What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric.

‘I’d imagine it had something to do with football. And to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke… It wasn’t.

‘I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal.’ 

Kylian Mbappe looked on in disbelief after Hegerberg was asked by Solveig if she could twerk

Kylian Mbappe looked on in disbelief after Hegerberg was asked by Solveig if she could twerk

Kylian Mbappe looked on in disbelief after Hegerberg was asked by Solveig if she could twerk

Tennis star Andy Murray hit out at the comment and called it 'ridiculous sexism that still exists'

Tennis star Andy Murray hit out at the comment and called it 'ridiculous sexism that still exists'

Hegerberg later said she did not want the events of the 'twer' comments to overshadow her success

Hegerberg later said she did not want the events of the 'twer' comments to overshadow her success

Tennis star Andy Murray hit out at the comment and called it ‘ridiculous sexism that still exists’

British tennis player Andy Murray was unimpressed, writing: ‘Why do women still have to put up with that s***? What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric'

British tennis player Andy Murray was unimpressed, writing: ‘Why do women still have to put up with that s***? What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric'

British tennis player Andy Murray was unimpressed, writing: ‘Why do women still have to put up with that s***? What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric’

Juventus and England footballer Eni Aluko was also angered by Solveig’s ‘pathetic’ apology as she criticised the offence he caused.

Hegerberg’s speech when she accepted the Ballon d’Or 

‘It is fantastic. I don’t have words. This is unbelievable. It’s a big moment for me. 

‘This is a great moment for me. I want to say thank you to my teammates. It would not have been possible without you, thank you! Thanks to the technical staff, and to my club. And to one man in particular, Jean-Michel Aulas, our president. Thank you for everything you do for women’s football.’

She ended by saying: ‘Please, believe in yourself!’

 

She wrote: ‘Pathetic apology. Everyone who has an ounce of decency and respect for women is offended you k***’. 

Three-time Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton was one of those to condemn his actions, commenting on a video of the incident, writing ‘Wtf?’

It was a significant moment for the women’s game and viewers were left angry that the moment was spoiled by Solveig and host David Ginola as they asked if she wanted to perform the provocative dance move. 

She swiftly replied ‘no’ before returning to the award and paying thanks to those who helped her throughout the season. 

England defender and Lyon team-mate Lucy Bronze, who came sixth in the inaugural women’s award, believed the incident was just a joke.

‘The DJ asked each person that won what their dance was but she can twerk, she was lying. It was more of a joke of making her dance,’ Bronze told BBC Sport. 

Solveig later offered his 'sincere apologies' to anyone he had offended and insisted he was always 'respectful' with women 

Solveig later offered his 'sincere apologies' to anyone he had offended and insisted he was always 'respectful' with women 

Solveig later offered his ‘sincere apologies’ to anyone he had offended and insisted he was always ‘respectful’ with women 

Hegerberg said in her speech after accepting the award: ‘It is fantastic. I don’t have words. This is unbelievable. It’s a big moment for me. 

‘This is a great moment for me. I want to say thank you to my teammates. It would not have been possible without you, thank you! Thanks to the technical staff, and to my club. And to one man in particular, Jean-Michel Aulas, our president. Thank you for everything you do for women’s football.’

She ended by saying: ‘Please, believe in yourself!’ 

Twitter users also condemned Solveig’s behaviour. 

One wrote: ‘What kind of question is this? And why are these guys laughing? This is disgusting, I’m so sorry for Ada Hegerberg.’

Another wrote: I can’t even. Here is Ada, winning a deserved award for her talent as a footballer. Respected by her peers, male & female at the ceremony. Historic, being the first women’s Ballon d’Or award. But in that moment, a man tried to diminish her. And we all saw.’ 

Her sister Andrine, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, was left ‘absolutely speechless’ at her sister’s achievements. 

Hegerberg has won nine major titles in four years at Lyon and took the award ahead of England internationals Lucy Bronze and Fran Kirby.  

‘This is more than just a dream for me’: Modric tells of his delight after winning the Ballon d’Or for the first time  

Luka Modric ended the long reign of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or for the first time on Monday. 

Messi and Ronaldo had won every Ballon d’Or since 2008, and usually fought only each other for the greatest recognition among soccer’s elite.

Modric won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then guided Croatia to the World Cup final in July. The midfielder was voted player of the tournament.

‘As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,’ Modric said. ‘The Ballon d’Or was more than just a dream for me and it is really an honor and a privilege to hold this trophy.’

Ronaldo was second in the polling followed by France forward Antoine Griezmann. France’s teen star, Kylian Mbappe, was fourth. Brazil star Neymar was third last year but only 12th this time. Messi was fifth in the voting, having been runner-up to Ronaldo the past two years and in the top three every year since 2007. Modric had never previously been in the top three.

Luka Modric holds his Ballon D'Or trophy at tonight's ceremony 

Luka Modric holds his Ballon D'Or trophy at tonight's ceremony 

Luka Modric holds his Ballon D’Or trophy at tonight’s ceremony 

‘2018 is a dream year for me,’ the 33-year-old Modric said. ‘Throughout my career I realized hard work, persistence and belief in yourself in difficult moments are the foundations of success.’

Modric’s father was shown on the big screen wiping away tears during the ceremony at the imperious Grand Palais in Paris.

Ronaldo missed out on a record sixth award, which would have moved him one ahead of Messi. The last player to win it before those two started dominating world soccer awards was Brazil midfielder Kaka with AC Milan in 2007.

Ronaldo also won the Champions League last season with Modric, before leaving to join Juventus. He scored a hat trick against Spain at the World Cup but he failed to make an impression when Portugal lost to Uruguay in the round of 16.

Mbappe and Griezmann scored in the 4-2 World Cup final win against Croatia. Mbappe earned a domestic treble with Paris Saint-Germain. Griezmann also scored twice for Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final win against Marseille.

France coach Didier Deschamps said a France player should have won the award.

‘They deserve it because of what they did with the national team at the World Cup and also because of the trophies they won with their clubs,’ Deschamps said.

The 19-year-old Mbappe – the youngest player to score in a World Cup final – won the Raymond Kopa Trophy awarded to the best young player.

France Football magazine has been awarding the Ballon d’Or since 1956, and created a women’s award for the first time this year.

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