In 2018, Lyon superstar forward Ada Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d'Or Féminin at a star-studded event featuring the leading players from the men's and women's game.

Unfortunately, the main headline of a landmark individual award was distracted somewhat by the antics of the ceremony host, DJ Martin Solveig, who asked the Norwegian footballer if she knew how to twerk - the type of question that is not posed to a male footballer on such a stage.

Following criticism on social media, Solveig issued an apology.

Two years on, Hegerberg is taking positives from the way the general public reacted to the incident at the time as she said in an interview with journalist Cliona Foley at the KPMG 20x20 finale event on Wednesday. 

"I think people were on their toes and you can look at it from a positive aspect as well," said the 25-year-old, who is due to return to action in the very near future after a serious knee injury sustained at the start of the year.

"I was very focused on the whole award and tried to focus on the right things but people were staying on their toes and thought that this wasn't good enough because we were there to celebrate the performance, the football and basically the question was completely taken out of the subject. So it was very unfortunate." 

It's also three years since Hegerberg made the decision to stop representing the Norway national team in protest at the treatment of women's football. It meant that as the reigning world player of the year, she was a notable absentee at last year's FIFA World Cup. But that did not deter her.

"The World Cup wasn't in my mind when I made the decision. I knew all the consequences behind this decision like that and I think in life it's very important to know yourself, know your values and where you want to head in my career but also as a person," she explained.  

"There were things I didn't accept and in order to move on in life, you need to take tough decisions and it's much, much easier also to take tough decisions when you know your values and what you stand for.

"So obviously the World Cup in France wasn't in my head when I took that decision but that's also part of the consequences."

Expanding on the factors behind her decision, Hegerberg explained that it went beyond issues like pay parity between men's and women's international players in Norway.

"It's also about being respected for the work you put in, whether you're a woman or man, to respect you for the athlete you are but also the person you are and there were things that I didn't accept in terms of being the person I was, in terms of being a woman with ambitions and I didn't think the bar was set as high as it should be," she said.

"I think the girls and women at our level deserve more and when I tried to have an impact on that, it didn't work.

"So it was a tough choice [to leave the national team] but an easy one in the end." 

Hegerberg added, "We all want to leave our sports in better hands than we found it in" in regards to making a stand on issues.

"You don't want to irritate people. You just want to tell them the truth," she continued.

"And being a woman speaking up for what you believe in and equality is a very tricky thing as well and there are a lot of people who might feel offended almost by women speaking out."