Aitana Bonmatí and Lionel Messi were announced as the recipients of the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards during the yearly football awards event in Paris.
Bonmatí was widely acknowledged as the top choice, having earned the title of player of the tournament during Spain’s inaugural World Cup victory. She was also a key member of the Barcelona Femení squad that achieved the triple crown, netting 118 goals and only allowing 10 in the league. Bonmatí surpassed Chelsea and Australia’s forward Sam Kerr for first place, while her compatriot and Barcelona teammate Salma Paralluelo claimed third.
Luis Rubiales, the former head of the Spanish Football Association, was recently suspended for three years from all football-related activities by the Fifa disciplinary committee. This was a result of an investigation into his behavior at the Women’s World Cup final. In light of this news, Bonmatí expressed gratitude to her family, teammates, and Barcelona president Joan Laporta for their contributions to her success. She also emphasized the responsibility of the football community to serve as role models and advocate for equality.
Bonmatí stated that it is our duty to uphold our values both on and off the field. We must strive to be more than just athletes, setting a positive example and working together towards creating a better, more peaceful and equal society.
Rachel Daly, Georgia Stanway, Millie Bright, and Mary Earps of England were nominated for the women’s award due to their performance in the World Cup final. However, they were unable to attend the ceremony due to their international obligations.
Earps earned the top spot among the English players, placing fifth. Daly came in 10th and Bright was right behind her in 11th. Stanway ended up in 23rd place, just one spot above her former teammate, Jamaican player Khadija Shaw.
Messi’s World Cup‑winning campaign with Argentina made him the favourite and he was on hand to receive his record eighth award on what would have been the 63rd birthday of the legendary compatriot Diego Maradona. The Inter Miami owner, David Beckham, handed the forward the award.
Argentina has taken the lead in the rankings for most wins by a country with eight, surpassing France, Germany, Netherlands, and Portugal who each have seven. This victory was achieved by Messi.
I am truly grateful for the career I have had and all that I have accomplished. It is a great privilege to have played for the best team in the world and in history. Winning individual awards is a nice bonus, but winning the Copa America and World Cup is truly amazing.
Jude Bellingham, an England midfielder who ranked 18th in the overall vote, expressed that he still has more potential to show as he was awarded the Kopa trophy for being the top male player under 21. He scored 15 goals and made eight assists for Borussia Dortmund last season, after joining the club from Real Madrid and making an impressive start.
Last season, Erling Haaland scored an impressive 52 goals for Manchester City and was awarded the Gerd Müller trophy. He also placed second in the overall rankings, with Kylian Mbappé coming in third. Haaland’s teammates Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri followed closely behind, placing fourth and fifth respectively.
The Sócrates award, which recognizes humanitarian efforts by a soccer player, was given to Vinícius Jr by Prince Albert II of Monaco. He also received sixth place for the men’s award. The Real Madrid forward was recognized for his organization, instituto Vini Jr, which offers opportunities to disadvantaged youth in Brazil. During his acceptance speech, the winger honored the late Brazilian legend Pelé, referring to him as “a deity for all of us.”
Emiliano Martínez was awarded the Lev Yashin trophy for his impressive performance as a goalkeeper during Argentina’s triumphant World Cup journey. The award was presented to him by his father, Alberto, in recognition of his heroic efforts.