Ada Hegerberg has been included in Norway coach Martin Sjogren's squad for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Poland next month; 2018 Ballon d'Or winner quit the national team in 2017
Thursday 24 March 2022 10:21, UK
Lyon forward Ada Hegerberg has returned to the Norway squad for the first time in five years, handing a huge boost to the team ahead of this year's European Championship.
Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or in 2018, quit the national team in 2017 because of a dispute with the Norwegian Football Federation over the treatment of women's football in the country. The federation's attempts to break the impasse failed.
On Thursday, Hegerberg was included in coach Martin Sjogren's squad for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Poland next month.
"It feels incredibly good to be back," Hegerberg said in a video message. "I will do my part to help us achieve great things, both on and off the field - for football, for Norway, but not least for the next generation."
The Norwegians, who have qualified for the World Cup, top Group F on 16 points after six games.
The 2022 Euros will be held in England in July, with Norway set to face Northern Ireland, England and Austria in the group stage.
The 2023 World Cup will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Coach Sjogren described Hegerberg as one of the best strikers in the world and said the team would benefit from her return.
"For the most part, we have talked about how we see the future together, and not what has happened in the past," Sjogren said. "It was mostly to do with Ada's role and how we can make the team even better. The conversations have been very good."
Hegerberg previously said she quit the Norwegian national team after being left "mentally broken" and suffering nightmares.
"It was tough at so many camps. I have been broken mentally," Hegerberg told Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet and football magazine Josimar.
"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.
"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."