Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji
Spanish and FC Barcelona midfielder, Aitana Bonmati is on cloud nine after winning the 2023 Balon d’Or on Monday, replacing her country and club teammate, Alexia Putellas in the process and becoming the second Spanish player to achieve such a feat.
Three FC Barcelona players; Bonmati, Salma Paralluelo, and Fridolia Rolfo made the top four Ballon d’Or list.
“I’m a bit on cloud nine. It reminds me of watching the ceremony on television (TV) when I was little. It makes me proud to know that I am a reference for the new generations. We’ve had a tough year. It’s about time we were able to focus on football,” Bonmati stated after winning the Ballon d’Or.
“I am very proud to receive the Ballon d’Or. I would like to thank my teammates, the staff, and Barça workers who also deserve this award. Thanks to Joan Laporta for his confidence and for allowing us to play in a fully packed Camp Nou.
“I could not imagine being here when I used to see Messi lift the Ballon d’Or at this gala, and today I am the one collecting this award. The fact that Alexia Putellas and I can be a reference for the next generations, girls and boys, is a source of pride.”
Bonmati and the men’s winner, Lionel Messi are products of FC Barcelona Academy, popularly known as “La Masia” meaning the men’s and women’s Ballon d’Or winners for 2023 were made in La Masia.
Lionel Messi said: “As Aitana mentioned before, I was lucky to play in the best team in the world at Barça.”
With Bonmati’s recent feat, it means the Catalan side has won the last three women’s Ballon d’Or awards as Putellas won back-to-back awards in 2021 and 2022.
FC Barcelona also won the women’s club of the year at the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony to the amazement of the club President, Joan Laporta.
Joan Laporta said: “I’m very proud of our team and everyone who makes this possible. And I also thank the Culés for supporting Barça Femení. This award is for you.”
The coach of the team, Jonatan Giraldez also expressed his happiness and pride in being part of the setup of one of the greatest women’s football club.
“For me, what they show is fundamental, the hard work to improve themselves, bringing joy to the fans and the experience that the players are acquiring in important matches. For me, it’s a source of pride to be able to train them.”
Patri Guijarro added: “The team has improved a lot in recent years. I would highlight the ambition we all have. The desire to improve and better ourselves every year. It’s something that each and every one of us has been involved with.”
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