Aitana Bonmati has won the UEFA women’s player of the year award for the 2022/23 season by UEFA and ESM, adding her name to a list that includes Nadine Angerer (2013), Nadine Kessler (2015), Celia Sasic (2015), Ada Hegerberg (2016), Lieke Martens (2017), Pernille Harder (2018, 2020), Lucy Bronze (2020) and Alexia Putellas (2021, 2022).
The Barcelona player, who was named best player of the Champions League and World Cup, achieves her first major international recognition.
“I would like to congratulate all the nominees. It is a privilege for me to be here after the successes of last season, a season I will never forget. I would like to share the award with all my colleagues because without them I wouldn’t be here”, said the award winner.
Aitana‘s story began to be written 25 winters ago in the streets of Sant Pere de Ribes, a Barcelona municipality of 31,688 inhabitants. From kicking the ball around in the school playground, at the age of seven she signed for her first team, CD Ribes, and played for two years with CF Cubelles – in both of which she was the only girl – until she made the leap to Barcelona at the age of 13.
She made her debut with the first team on 18 June 2016. Since then, she has worn the Barcelona jersey in 229 games, scoring 78 goals and winning 14 titles: four LaLiga titles, five Copa del Rey trophies, three Supercopas de Espana and two Champions League titles. To this we must add his 54 international appearances with Spain, in which she scored 18 goals and won a World Cup.
“I always like to say that I am a very ambitious person and player, a non-conformist, who always wants more and this is something that defines me very well and has got me this far. I’m lucky to play in a spectacular club with players who make me better every day,” says the player who has had an outstanding year.
“It has been the best year of my career and a year that I will carry in my heart forever.”
Aitana’s legacy is destined to go beyond the field of play. A vindictive from the cradle [for the first 16 months of her life she was called Aitana Bonmati Guidonet, both surnames being those of her mother, Rosa, who together with her father, Vincent, fought until they managed to get their daughter to take first her mother’s surname (Bonmati) and then her father’s (Conca), the footballer has always shown her most supportive and vindictive side.
She is an ambassador for the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the UNHCR, has her own Campus and is filming a documentary that will be released at the end of the year in which this award will be relevant.
“I have always tried to be a role model for boys and girls, not only girls, because I remember when I was 10 or 11 years old, I only had male role models: Iniesta, Xavi… now it is important that both men and women play a role. Now it is important that both men and women can be role models for the younger ones,” she stressed.
Legacy for future generations
Before finishing her speech, she wanted to remember Jenni Hermoso and what she has had to go through.
“These are not very good times for Spanish football. We have just won the World Cup, but not much is being said about it,” said Aitana.
“As a society we cannot allow the abuse of power in a working relationship, as well as disrespect. I want to remind myself of Jenni and all the women who are going through the same thing: we are with you. We have to continue working so that this society improves.”