In a night of glitz, glamour, and footballing excellence, the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards ceremony in Paris left no room for disappointment.
The footballing world united to celebrate the talents of Aitana Bonmatí and Lionel Messi, while also getting a glimpse of the future with Jude Bellingham’s promise.
Aitana Bonmatí: The Queen of Spanish Football
Aitana Bonmatí, the darling of Spanish football, left her mark on the world stage. Widely anticipated, she clinched the coveted Ballon d’Or, and it’s no surprise why.
Her role in Spain’s first-ever World Cup victory and her dazzling performances for Barcelona Femení in their continental treble-winning season wowed fans worldwide.
Bonmatí scored an astonishing 118 goals and conceded just 10 in the league. Her victory was a victory for equality as well as for herself.
She urged football players to be “more than athletes” and to work toward a more equitable, peaceful, and better world in her acceptance speech.
Lionel Messi: The Eighth Wonder
Legend of the game Lionel Messi won his eighth Ballon d’Or, setting a record, on the day that fellow Argentine great Diego Maradona would have turned sixty-three.
Messi was the favorite going into the World Cup because of his incredible performance during Argentina’s victory. He did not let anyone down.
As he acknowledged the “fortune” of playing for the greatest teams in history and the globe, his humility was evident.
Argentina now holds the record with eight Ballon d’Or victories worldwide.
Jude Bellingham: A Glimpse of the Future
While Messi and Bonmatí basked in their glory, young Jude Bellingham unveiled his promise. Winning the Kopa trophy for the best under-21 male player, Bellingham claimed the spotlight.
His incredible 15 goals and eight assists for Borussia Dortmund last season, followed by a dazzling start at Real Madrid, made fans and experts alike excited about his future.
Other Notable Awards
Erling Haaland, the goal-scoring sensation for Manchester City, secured the Gerd Müller trophy and claimed second place in the Ballon d’Or proceedings.
Kylian Mbappé followed closely in third place, with Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri from Haaland’s team rounding up the top five.
Vinícius Jr. received the Sócrates prize for his humanitarian work through “instituto Vini Jr,” providing opportunities for underprivileged Brazilian youngsters.
Accepting the award, he paid tribute to the late Brazilian legend Pelé, calling him “a God for all of us.”
Emiliano Martínez received the Lev Yashin trophy from his father Alberto in recognition of his valiant efforts during Argentina’s championship run in the World Cup.
In addition to honoring football brilliance, the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony emphasized that players should be “more than athletes” and emphasized their obligation to improve the world.
Football’s enduring magic is largely attributed to talent, humility, and a willingness to change, as the game continues to develop.