2023 Ballon d’Or Winners: Lionel Messi & Aitana Bonmati Take Home Biggest Honors

Lionel Messi And Aitana Bonmati With Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi And Aitana Bonmati With Ballon d'Or

The 2023 Ballon d’Or Awards gala was held at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on Monday night (October 30). Argentina and Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi took home his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or Award while Spain’s FIFA Women’s World Cup hero and Barcelona ace Aitana Bonmati grabbed her first Ballon d’Or Feminin.

Complete List Of Ballon d’Or Award Winners

Messi and Bonmati were not the only ones who took home prestigious honors on Monday, with France Football naming no fewer than eight winners in Paris.

Socrates Award:

Real Madrid superstar Vinicius Junior was awarded the Socrates Award for his remarkable humanitarian work. The 23-year-old left-winger runs an NGO named “Vini Jr. Institute”, which provides free digital education to underprivileged children in Brazil. His personal contribution to the foundation is set to cross the $1 million mark in this calendar year itself.

Gerd Muller Trophy:

While he finished in second place behind Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or race, Manchester City ace Erling Haaland did not return empty-handed. He deservedly took home the Gerd Muller Trophy, which is awarded to the most prolific strike of the previous season. Haaland scored a staggering 56 goals for Man City and Norway, beating Kylian Mbappe’s tally for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and France by one goal.

Yashin Trophy:

Buoyed by his performances for Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was awarded the Yashin Trophy. Martinez beat Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to claim the prestigious award.

Kopa Trophy:

Real Madrid ace Jude Bellingham was expectedly named the winner of the Kopa Trophy, which is awarded to the best young U-21 player over the previous season. The Englishman, who has scored 13 goals in 13 games for Madrid this season, was also in impressive form for Borussia Dortmund last season. Playing 42 games across competitions, he scored 14 times and provided seven assists.

Men & Women’s Club Of The Year:

Last season’s Treble-winners Manchester City were deservedly named the Men’s Club Of The Year. In the women’s division, the honors went to FC Barcelona Femeni. They won Liga F, Supercopa de Espana Femenina, and UEFA Women’s Champions League last season.

Messi & Bonmati Delighted With Ballon d’Or Win

Inter Miami star Lionel Messi became the first active MLS player to win the Ballon d’Or. The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner, who scored seven goals and claimed three assists in Qatar, expressed his gratitude while accepting the award.

The 36-year-old said (via The Mirror):

Thanks to everyone, especially my teammates. Thank you to everyone who voted for me. This Ballon d’Or is a great gift for all of Argentina. I don’t want to forget Haaland or Mbappé, who had a great year, spectacular, and in the coming years they will win this award.”

Bonmati enjoyed a similar year for Spain and Barcelona. She won the World Cup as the tournament’s best player and helped the Blaugrana to domestic and continental success. After thanking her teammates and Barcelona president Joan Laporta, Bonmati spoke about responsibility. She called upon her peers to be role models people can look up to.

The Spanish hero and Ballon d’Or Feminin winner concluded by saying (via Eurosport):

Congratulations to 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 for a better, peaceful, and more equal world.”

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