Imagine Lionel Messi refusing to play for Argentina or Cristiano Ronaldo not turning out for Portugal at the World Cup. That is the situation that Norway found themselves in at this summer’s tournament as their star player refused to play for them at the showpiece event.
This is nothing new for Hegerberg. The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner stopped playing for Norway in 2017 due to a lack of respect for female players in her own country and she is not alone. Her sister Andrine, who plays her club football for PSG, has also abstained.
She made this decision just before the Norwegian Football Association and the players' association signed an agreement that almost doubled the women’s teams pay, from £296,845 to £574,540 per year, a move that drew praise from the other players.
The Norway coach Martin Sjogren had tried to convince her to come out of international retirement but she remained true to her word and would not be moved. She told the BBC World Service: “As a coach, you need to focus on the players who want to be a part of the team and Ada doesn't.
"We respect that and we have been working hard with the other players and they have been doing a great job."