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Ada Hegerberg returns to Norway national team after five years away

(Monika Majer/Getty Images)

Ada Hegerberg is back with the Norwegian national team, ending a five-year absence.

Hegerberg quit the national team in 2017, protesting the treatment of women’s soccer in the country in comparison to the men. One year later, she won the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or. Widely regarded as one of the game’s best players, she’s also been named UEFA’s Best Women’s Player in Europe (2016) and BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year (2017, 2019).

The 26-year-old currently plays for Olympique Lyonnais in France and has been out for the better part of the past two seasons due to injury, first a ruptured ACL in January 2020 and then a stress fracture in her left tibia that September. She spent 20 months away from the game, returning in October 2021.

On Thursday, she was included on the roster named by coach Martin Sjogren for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Poland next month.

“It feels incredibly good to be back,” Hegerberg said. “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.”

Prior to her departure from the national team, Hegerberg made 66 appearances, scoring 38 goals.

In addressing her return, Sjogren called her “one of the best” in the world, adding that her return means “a lot to the national team.”

“For the most part, we have talked about how we see the future together and not what has happened,” he 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.”

Norway currently sits atop Group F for World Cup qualifying with 16 points through six games. Having already qualified for the 2022 European Championships in July, they will face off against Northern Ireland, England and Austria on the group stage.