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Ada Hegerberg: ‘I couldn’t imagine winning the Champions League one year ago’

Ada Hegerberg of Lyon celebrates with trophy after the UEFA Women's Champions League final match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyon at Juventus Stadium on May 21, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

It’s hard to believe only seven months before claiming the Champions League title, Ada Hegerberg was making her triumphant return to Lyon after being sidelined for 21 months.

The Norway striker has come a long way since her ACL injury abruptly halted her career in 2020, just two years after winning the Ballon d’Or award.

On Saturday, things turned around for Hegerberg as she scored a goal to help Lyon to a 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League final, a feat that surprised Hegerberg herself.

“I couldn’t imagine winning the Champions League one year ago,” Hegerberg said after the historic win. “I’ve come far from a long injury, and getting back to this level is just extremely inspiring and I am very grateful.”

The 27-year-old’s goal added to her Champions League tally, notching 59 in 61 UWCL appearances to make her the competition’s all-time top scorer.

“It was about finding the right space,” Hegerberg said of her headed finish to double Lyon’s lead in the championship. “When you get a chance on goal, it should be goal.”

Hegerberg has scored in four of the five UWCL finals she’s competed in for Lyon, the first player to do since Alfredo di Stefano.

“I have difficulties finding the words to describe this,” she said. “We faced a beautiful team, and we really went for this victory, and we let the football talk which is important for us.”

Lyon’s trophy marks the club’s record eighth Champions League championship, restoring the club’s reign atop women’s soccer.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of players,” Hegerberg said. “It takes a lot of courage, a lot of work, mentality to get to this place. It wasn’t easy to go for it, but it’s the eighth title of the club, which is amazing.”