The 2023 Ballon d’Or honors Messi and Bonmati

The prestigious annual football award that most players only ever hope to receive is the Ballon d’Or, or the Golden Boot, which honors the best player of the season. The award is based on three main criteria — individual performances and impressive character, collective performances and winning trophies, and most importantly class and fair play. The Ballon d’Or has been awarded every year since 1956, except 2020 into 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the 2023 season coming to a close, the prestigious awards were given out to Lionel Messi and Aitana Bonmati. 

Messi currently holds the record for most Ballon d’Or with eight wins, 2009-2012, 2015, 2019, 2021 and now 2023.

Messi fought off competition from Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) teammate Kylian Mbappe, as well as 26 other nominees for the award.

Messi’s 2022-2023 season was one for the books. In a league-winning title season for PSG, he played 41 matches, scored 21 goals and provided 20 assists. 

The 2023 Ballon d’Or rankings that were released showcased that the players representing FC Barcelona and Spain have now won the award in three consecutive years.

He continued his momentum and brought the energy at the World Cup in Qatar where Messi scored twice in the group stage and was on target every knockout round, where he scored against the Netherlands, Australia and Croatia. Messi was the leader in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup win in Qatar last winter. This was the first time he won the tournament.

Messi finished second in the top goalscorer charts with seven goals and received the Golden Ball at the conclusion of the World Cup in recognition of his play through the tournament. 

Now it looks like Messi’s 2023 season is slowly calming down. His trip to Inter Miami that began earlier this season has come to a pause as Miami’s playoff hopes dwindled. It would have been Inter Miami’s first international tour and could have served as a warm-up for Messi before playing in two World Cup qualifying matches for Argentina later this month.

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmati won the women’s award, and this the first time the 25-year-old has received the award.  She is the second youngest woman to win the award since 2018. Bonmati also won the World Cup Golden Ball, and helped Spain win the tournament back in August. 

Bonmati also led Barcelona to win the Champions League for a second time, while being named the best player at both competitions.

The 2023 Ballon d’Or rankings that were released showcased that the players representing FC Barcelona and Spain have now won the award in three consecutive years. Aitana was one of six Spanish players on the 30-player shortlist for the Ballon d’Or, highlighting the world-class players that they have at their disposal.

She received the award at the gala which took place at the Teatre del Châtelet de Paris and where Barça Women, FC Barcelona Femení were also awarded as the best team of the year. 

She set high marks for herself this 2022-2023 season with 18 goals and 21 assists. The midfielder has picked up several important distinctions, both on an individual and collective level. She strived to win every trophy available to her and she did. 

With the Barça Women, Bonmati claimed the league title and a second Champions League title while being named the best player of the tournament. After the Ballon d’Or she is widely expected to claim The Best FIFA Women’s Player award later this year. 

Congratulations to both Lionel Messi and Aitana Bonmatí for receiving the Ballon d’Or. It is evident in their performance on the field and their character overall why they won such a prestigious award in football.


Featured photo courtesy of @ballondor, X