The most obvious answer to that question will probably lead you to Portugal and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. However, there is something wrong about that reply. With, 17 goals over the last 12 months, Ronaldo stands heads and shoulders above his nearest rivals. Robert Lewandowski of Poland and Bayern Munich comes next with 15 goals. Ronaldo’s equally brilliant contemporary, Argentina’s Lionel Messi lies at joint fourth place with Frenchman Antoine Griezmann. Messi and Griezmann have both scored 13 goals in the same period. But all these talks are about men’s football while the above question relates to all UEFA competition games. With 18 goals in last 12 months, Norway’s woman footballer Ada Hegerberg, who plays for the French club Lyon, has clearly outscored Cristiano Ronaldo in UEFA competition matches in 2016. Therefore, it is Ada Hegerberg, who tops everyone, men or women, in this year’s UEFA competition matches. Incidentally, both Ronaldo and Ada were also voted as the best players in Europe for 2015-16. Why Ada’s name will not be prompted as a ready answer to this question is attributable to women’s football not being followed as intensely as the men’s games on global scale. But the 21-year-old Norwegian is a star in her own right and it is not merely the 2016 season we are talking about. She has been creating waves ever since she started playing as a little girl, more than 6 years ago.
Ada Martine Stolsmo Hegerberg was just 15, when she made her football debut in 2010 for Norwegian club Kolbotn, which is among the top teams Toppserien league, top level of Women’s Association Football in Norway. A month after her 16th birthday on August 6, 2011, Ada scored three goals in seven minutes for Kolbotn against Roa in her club’s 4–1 win. She thus became the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick in Toppserien. When the 2011 Toppserien season ended, Ada had emerged as Kolbotn’s top-scorer of the league season. She was also voted as Toppserien’s Young Player of the Year 2011. Ada has an elder sister Andrine Hegerberg and the two of them joined another Norwegian club Stabaek from 2012 season. That season, Ada scored 5 goals before halftime in Stabaek’s 8-2 rout of Fart. The media voted her as the Talent of the Month for the second time in May 2012. The 2012 season ended with Ada becoming Toppserien’s top scorer with 25 goals in 18 matches. Ada scored another hat-trick in Stabaek’s 4-0 win over Roa in the final of 2012 Norwegian Women’s Cup.
From 2013 to June 2014, Ada played for Germany’s FFC Turbine Postdam before switching to Lyon. She had an extremely successful first season, in which she scored 26 goals in 22 league games. Ada’s fine performance was the key in Lyon winning French women’s league for the ninth consecutive year. In the Coupe de France Feminine Final, Ada’s 47th minute goal brought Lyon back into the game after their 0-1 first half deficit against Montpellier. In the end, Lyon won the final 2-1. Ada continued with Lyon in 2015–16 season and scored another hat-trick on September 27, 2015 in Lyon’s 5–0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain. She has since signed a contract with Lyon to play until 2019. While her Club notched up their 10th straight league title win, Ada finished as 2015-16 season’s top league scorer with 33 goals in 21 appearances. That won her UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award for 2015-16 while Cristiano Ronaldo won the men’s award.
In 2016, Ada scored 9 goals for Lyon in UEFA Women’s Champions League, 7 for Norway’s UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 qualification matches and 2 goals in European play-offs for Women’s Olympic tournament. That has taken her tally to 18 for the year. In comparison, Ronaldo’s 17 goals have come from 7 in UEFA Champions League, 3 in Portugal’s monumental victory in UEFA Euro 2016 and 7 in European Qualifiers for Portugal’s campaign for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Though women’s football doesn’t attract as much publicity as men’s, Ada’s achievements are still very commendable. As 2016 comes to an end, Ada has already scored about 200 career goals playing for different European Clubs and her nation Norway. She has won everything that was there to win and she is still 21. Ada holds more promise for future since UEFA Women’s Champions League is only in the quarterfinal stage and next year features UEFA Women’s Euro 2017. The woman is gifted with above-normal physical and mental strength needed to becoming the best women footballer in the world.
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