Women's World Cup 2019: Why Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg won't feature in France

Yahoo Sport UK

The World Cup is the pinnacle of pretty much any major sport.

England have dedicated a series of songs to their football World Cup misery, while even in both codes of rugby and cricket the tournament is the peak to which many aspire.

So it may surprise you to learn that Ada Hegerberg - the historic first winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or - will not be taking part in France’s World Cup.

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The Norwegian, just 23, is in the midst of a boycott from the Norway national team after she was left ‘mentally broken’ by training camps while also standing for equality.

"It was tough at so many camps. I have been broken mentally," Hegerberg told Norwegian media.

"It has been a deeply depressing feeling. I had nightmares after being with the national team, you shouldn't have things like that. If you want to get anywhere in life you have to make choices.

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"Immediately the thought came into my mind - 'I think I'll have to stop playing for the national team’. (Then) everything just ran off and I started to sleep well again."

The Lyon forward will be in France as a pundit instead of appearing as a player, though.

She has not played for her country since they were eliminated from the European Championships in 2017.

Hegerberg cited a ‘lack of respect’ towards female players as equal pay became a prominent issue, with the president of the Norwegian FA voting against a pay increase for the women.

Her boycott has helped highlight the gap, though, and the women’s side have since had their pay increased while the men agreed to a cut.

But Hegerberg is still resolute in her valiant boycott.

"It can be tough to stand alone for something you believe in. But that’s something I’m willing to take to keep my values, and what I believe in and where I want to go," Hegerberg previously told CNN.

"I was really honest with the national team representative. What I felt wasn’t good enough – it’s not good enough."

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