In a dazzling ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Aitana Bonmatí, the star player of FC Barcelona, was crowned the Ballon d’Or 2023 winner. This accolade marks not only a personal achievement for Bonmatí but also underscores the prominence of Spanish football on the global stage.
Bonmatí, overwhelmed with emotion, described the day as one of the happiest moments of her life, realizing a dream she had nurtured since childhood. In a heartfelt gesture, she dedicated the award to her teammates and staff from both the FC Barcelona team and the Spanish national team, emphasizing the collective spirit of the sport.
During her acceptance speech, Bonmatí expressed her immense pride in the accomplishments of the past year. She remarked, “Although I am here to collect an individual award, football is a collective sport. I extend this award to my teammates, staff, and workers at Barça and the national team. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Switching to her native Catalan, Bonmatí extended her gratitude to the teams she has represented over the years, including Ribes, Cubelles, and most notably, FC Barcelona. She expressed her deep appreciation to the club’s president, Joan Laporta, for his unwavering support and belief in the team’s potential. “Thank you for betting on us when no one believed in us,” she said, highlighting the club’s global stature.
The young star also took a moment to acknowledge her family, particularly her parents, Rosa and Vicent, for their relentless efforts in challenging and changing the surname rule in Spain. This resilience, she believes, runs in her blood and has been instrumental in shaping her career.
In a candid conversation with the event’s presenter, former footballer Didier Drogba, Bonmatí admitted to her nervousness, revealing that the magnitude of the occasion had kept her awake for days. “This is a dream for me. I’m a discreet person, but being here today is unique,” she shared.
Reflecting on her journey, Bonmatí emphasized the significance of playing alongside talented players and being mentored by exceptional coaching staff. Their collective efforts have led the team to three Champions League finals and a World Cup final, showcasing their unparalleled determination and spirit.
The dominance of FC Barcelona in the Ballon d’Or awards, with players like Alexia and now Aitana clinching the title, is a testament to Spain’s passionate football culture. As Bonmatí aptly put it, “It says a lot that this award has stayed at home for three years. We are a country that lives football with intensity and works forever to improve.”
In a touching moment, Bonmatí responded to Pep Guardiola’s comparison of her to legends like Andrés Iniesta, expressing her admiration for Guardiola and his contributions to FC Barcelona.
With this win, Aitana Bonmatí has not only etched her name in the annals of football history but has also shone a spotlight on the burgeoning talent and potential of Spanish women’s football.