2019 UEFA WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

ENJOYING THE MOMENT

Striker Ada Hegerberg on the art of scoring, her favourite Champions League goal and keeping ahead of the game

This article was first published in the 2019 UEFA Women's Champions League Final Programme. Buy your programme here.

To say that Ada Hegerberg made history this season would almost be redundant – the Lyon forward has hardly stopped since her prolific career began. Still only 23, she celebrated another landmark in December by becoming the first ever winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or. It was just reward for her record 15 goals in Europe last term as she clinched her third continental crown. With four more strikes this season, she is well on the way to helping Lyon secure another.

What would it mean to win a fourth straight Champions League?

It would mean everything. The Champions League is the most beautiful competition in my eyes. Winning for the fourth time would be such a dream. People keep asking me, “Which is the best one to win? The first, the second, the third?” Every one of them is amazing.

It's been quite a season for you already, with the final still to come...

We’re all about enjoying the moment and at the same time we’re focusing on what’s to come. If we win a fourth final in a row, we’d accomplish something historic, something great. Just thinking about that gives you goose bumps. You do the analysis when the season’s over, but now you have to stay in it, stay focused and try to make history. It’s as simple as that.

You have scored 41 goals in the Champions League since you made your debut in 2012. Which one is your favourite?

The one against Wolfsburg in the final last year, because then I actually broke the record for the most goals scored in the competition [in a single season], which was a huge milestone for me personally.

Scoring seems so easy for you...

Yeah, but it comes from repetition. If you train with quality every time and repe- tition, repetition, repetition, that’s what made me the player I am today and that’s going to be the key to more success in the years to come. It gets easy on the pitch when you work hard in training.

How important is confidence to being a great striker?

It’s all about self-belief, first, before con- fidence. I always talk about self-belief, how to create that sense of believing in yourself. Training on my own gives me self-belief, self-confidence, knowing that I’m well prepared. It’s something you just need to work on every day. It’s all about mental training as well. There are going to be periods that are tough. It’s how you face up to those difficulties, how you get back on the saddle again.

Did you always want to be a striker growing up?

I’ve had that sense for goals from a young age. My mum and dad always told me that when I played for the boys’ team I would be the striker, and I was always turning and shooting, shooting the ball into the goal. I always went all in, in front of goal. Thankfully, today, I have kept that instinct.

What can we expect in the final against Barcelona?

​A final is a final. It’s 90 minutes. The team that’s most prepared will win. It always works like that. Obviously, there are games where you’re unlucky and you lose, but it’s always about preparation and being mentally there, and obviously my team has that experience. But we never talk before big games or big finals; we’re really focused in the moment and, when the final comes, we’re there to perform on the pitch.

You have won so many trophies in your career already and, of course, the Ballon d'Or. Are you always looking for the next thing?

No, I feel like I’ve been better lately – for the last couple of years at least – at taking it in a little bit more, enjoying it. When I was younger, I was like, “OK, we won, now the next thing. Analyse it. Bam, let’s win the next one!” But, with experience, over the years, I feel personally that I need to enjoy it to actually stay motivated for the next thing. It’s a challenge to keep being motivated and stay hungry. That’s something I work on every day, every season. It’s all about the details for me, working every day to become a little bit better at small aspects. Never stop having fun, but always chase the next level.

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