Aitana Bonmatí is officially soccer’s biggest female star…
The 25-year-old Spanish professional footballer, a Barcelona and Spain midfielder, has claimed the Ballon d’Or Féminin after a record-breaking year with club and country.
She was named Player of the Tournament in Australia and New Zealand and was also recently crowned UEFA Women’s Player of the Year. Bonmati won the Ballon d’Or ahead of Australia forward Sam Kerr and Spain winger Salma Paralluelo.
“I want to congratulate all the nominees. All of them are great and inspiring footballers. As role models we have a responsibility on and off the pitch. We should be more than athletes. Keep leading by example and keep fighting together for a better, peaceful and equal world,” Bonmatí said after receiving the award.
At the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris, Barcelona were also awarded as the women’s team of the year.
Bonmatí’s teammate Patri Guijarro and Barça president Joan Laporta received the recognition on behalf of the club.
It’s the third year in a row that a Barça player has clinched the Ballon d’Or in the women’s game, with Bonmatí succeeding teammate and back-to-back winner Alexia Putellas.
“Spain has something unique. In recent years we have achieved a lot with our clubs and the national team,” Bonmati told reporters.
“It says a lot that we won the Ballon d’Or three times in a row. We are a country that lives football, and we work hard every day to be the best.”
After claiming the prize in 2021 and 2022, Putellas missed the majority of last season with an ACL injury, although she did return to play a part in Spain’s World Cup triumph.
In Putellas’ absence, Bonmatí, who came fifth in the 2022 Ballon d’Or, took the spotlight in a more attacking role at Barcelona, scoring nine goals and assisting 10 more in 23 appearances as Barça won Liga F for a fourth successive season.
She also starred in the Champions League, registering a competition-high 13 goal contributions (five goals and eight assists) in 11 appearances as Barça won the title for a second time.
At the World Cup, she scored three times and set up two more goals as Spain won the competition for the first time, beating England 1-0 in the final in Sydney.
Bonmatí first broke into the Barça side in 2016 and has since made over 200 appearances for the club, winning four league titles, two Champions Leagues, five Copas de le Reina and three Spanish Super Cups.
She made her Spain debut in 2017 and had won 57 caps for her country, scoring 21 goals.