Aitana Bonmatí and Lionel Messi were announced as the recipients of the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards during the yearly football awards event held in Paris.
After being awarded player of the tournament during Spain’s victory in the World Cup, Bonmatí was widely acknowledged as the top contender. She was also a member of the Barcelona Femení team that achieved a continental treble, scoring 118 goals and only allowing 10 in the league. Bonmatí surpassed Chelsea and Australian striker Sam Kerr to take first place, while her Spain and Barcelona teammate Salma Paralluelo placed third.
The Fifa disciplinary committee has banned Luis Rubiales, former Spanish FA chief, from participating in football activities for three years due to an investigation into his behavior during the Women’s World Cup final. Bonmatí expressed gratitude towards her family, teammates, and Barcelona president Joan Laporta for contributing to her achievements. She also emphasized the responsibility of the football community to serve as “role models” in advocating for equality.
Bonmatí stated that it is our duty to uphold our responsibilities on and off the field. We must strive to be more than just athletes and continue setting a positive example while working together for a more peaceful and equal world.
Rachel Daly, Georgia Stanway, Millie Bright, and Mary Earps from England were among the nominees for the women’s award due to their performance in the World Cup final. However, they were unable to attend the event due to prior international obligations.
Earps placed fifth, the highest among the players from England. Daly came in 10th while Bright followed closely behind in 11th. Stanway finished 23rd, just one spot ahead of her ex-teammate, Jamaican international 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 now taken the lead in the rankings for most wins by a country, with eight victories. This puts them ahead of countries like France, Germany, Netherlands, and Portugal, who have seven wins each.
I am grateful for the incredible career I have had and all that I have accomplished. Playing for the top team in the world, and in history, has been a great privilege. Winning individual awards and the Copa America and World Cup has been an amazing experience.
Jude Bellingham, an English midfielder who ranked 18th in the overall vote, expressed his excitement as he was awarded the Kopa trophy for being the top male player under 21. Bellingham had a remarkable season with Borussia Dortmund, scoring 15 goals and providing eight assists. He started his time with Real Madrid in impressive fashion.
Erling Haaland was awarded the Gerd Müller trophy for his impressive 52 goals during the previous season with Manchester City. He also placed second in the overall rankings, with Kylian Mbappé taking third place. Haaland’s teammates Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri followed closely in fourth and fifth place.
The Sócrates award, which recognizes humanitarian efforts of a football player, was given to Vinícius Jr by Prince Albert II of Monaco. Vinícius Jr, who came in sixth for the men’s award, received the award for his organization, instituto Vini Jr, which supports disadvantaged youth in Brazil. In his acceptance speech, Vinícius Jr honored the late Brazilian legend Pelé, referring to him as a “god” for all.
Emiliano Martínez was awarded the Lev Yashin trophy for his outstanding performance as goalkeeper during Argentina’s successful World Cup run. His father, Alberto, presented him with the award as a tribute to his heroic efforts.