ANOTHER Spaniard has conquered the world – this time it was a Catalan ascending the stage to collect her prize.
Like men’s winner Lionel Messi, there was little surprise when it was announced that Aitana Bonmati had clinched the Women’s Ballon d’Or in Paris on Monday night.
The 25-year-old FC Barcelona midfielder scooped up the Women’s World Cup in Australia this summer, where she also won the Golden Ball for the best player.
On top of World Cup glory, she was recognised by UEFA as the Best Women’s Player last season.
So all things considered, it’s little wonder she was such short odds to scoop the top individual garland in women’s football.
On one hand, Bonmati’s youth makes her the youngest Women’s Ballon d’Or winner since Ada Hegerberg in 2018.
Yet, on the other hand, her standout season was partly influenced by the absence of the two-time winner, Alexia Putellas, due to an ACL injury suffered in 2022.
With Putellas sidelined, Bonmati seized the opportunity, stepping into a more prominent role on the pitch. Her ability to influence games with a subtle, snake-like approach has been a hallmark of her style. Bonmati isn’t a player who constantly dominates proceedings; instead, she patiently waits for the right moments to shine, as witnessed in her performance during the World Cup.
But at just 25, we’re likely witnessing just the beginning of Bonmati’s potential.
Her goal-scoring stats have been on the rise, and she seems poised for further growth.
Spanish women’s football, along with Barcelona’s role in nurturing talent, has been on an incredible three-year run.
Spain has claimed the Women’s Ballon d’Or for the past three years, Barcelona reached three of the last UWCL finals, and Spain won the World Cup.
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