Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmati won the Ballon d’Or Feminin on Monday, the award given to the best player in women’s football. Bonmati plays a crucial role in the midfields of both Barcelona and the Spanish National Team, and was a key figure in securing Spain’s World Cup victory in August 2023.
Bonmati had a banner year, earning the Golden Ball as best player at the 2023 World Cup and helping Barcelona Femeni to both Liga F and Women’s Champions League titles in the past year. On the Barcelona side, the absence of Bonmati’s dominant teammate Alexia Putellas due to injury meant a vacant attacking role was left to be filled. Bonmati rose to the occasion and helped Barcelona win both the league title and the UEFA Champions League, and she earned the UEFA Player of the Season Award in the process. Over the summer, she scored three goals in the 2023 World Cup to help lift Spain to its first ever tournament title. With this most recent award, Bonmati becomes the first player to win the Golden Ball, the UEFA Player of the Year, and the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
The fact that Bonmati earned the highest honors doesn’t come as a surprise to many, but it also wasn’t a guarantee. Finishing second was Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia, who is widely considered one of the best soccer players in the world. Following Kerr were Salma Paralluelo of Spain in 3rd, who a teammate of Bonmati’s for both Barcelona and Spain, and Fridolina Rolfo of Barcelona and Sweden in fourth. Four Lionesses from the English national team – Mary Earps, Rachel Daly, Millie Bright, and Georgia Stanway – were also among the top nominees for the coveted award.
And although so much of the attention of Monday evening’s gala was focused on Bonmati throughout the night, upon accepting her award, she chose to turn her spotlight on powerful messages she hopes to communicate through soccer. “As role models, we have a responsibility on and off the pitch,” Bonmati expressed. “We should be more than athletes and keep leading by example and fighting together fora better, peaceful, and equal world.”
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