Norway's Hegerberg wins first Ballon d'Or for women

Olympique Lyonnais' Ada Hegerberg celebrates with the Women's Ballon d'Or award during the Golden Ball award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris, France, Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Awarded every year by France Football magazine since Stanley Matthews won it in 1956, the Ballon d'Or, Golden Ball for the best player of the year will be given to both a woman and a man. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — Sixty-two years after Stanley Matthews won the first Ballon d'Or, the women's game received its inaugural winner: Trailblazing Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg.

The three-time Women's Champions League winner with French side Lyon was named the world's best female player of 2018 at a gala in Paris on Monday. A jury of 45 journalists picked the 23-year-old Hegerberg from among 15 nominees.

She called the award "a huge step for women's football."

Hegerberg, who scored a tournament-record 15 goals for Lyon in the Women's Champions League last season, also told The Associated Press she feels "very proud" to be the first Ballon d'Or-winning woman.

But she also expressed frustration about living "in such a man's world" and said the award will not make her reconsider her refusal to play for Norway because of her unhappiness over perceived inequality.

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