It was once supposed to be a second of triumph. Ada Hegerberg, a 23-year-old Norwegian football participant, had simply transform the primary lady to win the Ballon d’Or, one in all football’s maximum prestigious particular person honors.
However for some, the historical second was once temporarily spoiled when, in an onstage trade after her acceptance speech on Monday, the French D.J. Martin Solveig requested Ms. Hegerberg one thing that had not anything to do together with her experience: whether or not she knew easy methods to twerk.
“No,” Ms. Hegerberg mentioned, temporarily pushing aside the theory.
The trade took off on social media, the place critics — together with some high-profile athletes — accused Mr. Solveig of sexism and assailed him for undermining a second fulfillment with a connection with the provocative dance transfer. The debate just about overshadowed the scoop that Luka Modric beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the men’s Ballon d’Or. The award for best player had been reserved for male players from its inception in 1956, until the women’s Ballon d’Or was created this year.
“This is an absolute joke,” Lindsey Horan, a United States women’s team midfielder who was one of the finalists for the women’s Ballon d’Or, tweeted in response to Mr. Solveig’s comment. She offered her support for Ms. Hegerberg: “Congrats and you do not deserve this.”
Andy Murray, the tennis star, also condemned the comment in a post on Instagram. “To everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke.. It wasn’t,” he wrote. “I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal.”
But even as others held up the moment as yet another example of sexism in sports, Ms. Hegerberg said she didn’t view it that way. “I wasn’t upset,” she told The Associated Press. “He got here to me after the location and he apologized, however I didn’t take it as that in any respect.”
She mentioned her thoughts was once on her fulfillment: “I were given the Ballon d’Or.”
In a video posted on Twitter, Mr. Solveig mentioned he was once “amazed” through the feedback he had observed on-line. “I didn’t imply to offend any individual and I didn’t know that this may well be observed as such an offense, particularly should you imagine the collection in overall,” he mentioned.
After Ms. Hegerber disregarded the twerking remark, Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon” started to play, and she or he and Mr. Solveig slow-danced in brief.
Mr. Solveig performed track and danced all the way through the rite. When Kylian Mbappé, who helped France’s men’s team win the World Cup this year, won the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s player under 21, he and the D.J. danced (albeit without touching) to Drake’s “God’s Plan.”
Still, in his Twitter post, Mr. Solveig acknowledged his comment to Ms. Hegerberg was a misstep: “This was a joke — probably a bad one.”
The Ballon d’Or, awarded annually by the magazine France Football, was originally created to honor the European player of the year, and has had a history of exclusion. The Brazilian soccer star Pelé, who never signed for a European club, never won the award, for example. It did not became a global prize until 2007.
And while FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, introduced a women’s world player of the year award in 2001, the Ballon d’Or remained reserved for male players until September, when France Football’s editor announced that the magazine would honor a woman for the first time this year.
“Women’s soccer is a booming discipline that deserves the same respect as men’s soccer,” the editor, Pascal Ferre, told The Associated Press.
A list of 15 finalists was announced in October. The winner was chosen by a group of 40 voters — a different group than the judges for the men’s award. Mr. Ferre said there were different voters because women’s players deserved to be assessed by people who followed them regularly. “Only experts can vote,” he said.
Ms. Hegerberg, who plays for the perennial French champions Olympique Lyon, has spoken up about what she says is a lack of respect for women’s soccer in Norway and has said she won’t play for her home country in the next Women’s World Cup.
But in her acceptance speech on Monday, Ms. Hegerberg had a message for “young girls all over the world.”
“Please,” she said, “believe in yourselves.”