After being proclaimed Ballon d'Or 2023 and holding the precious statuette, Aitana Bonmatí took the stage at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and confessed that today was one of the happiest days of her life and that one of her dreams had come true. The FC Barcelona player shared the award with her teammates and staff from the FC Barcelona team and the Spanish national team.
Aitana began her speech by saying that she was "very proud because it has been an exceptional year on a sporting level and, although I am here to collect an individual award, football is a collective sport. So I would like to extend the award to my teammates, staff and workers at Barça and the national team. Without them, I wouldn't be here today."
Aitana then switched to Catalan and said: "Thanks to the teams I have played for: Ribes, Cubelles and, above all, to Barça, my club, led here today by the president, Joan Laporta. Thank you for betting on us when no one believed in us, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a professional footballer. Who would have said to me when I was a child that I would end up playing in a full Camp Nou? We are a club of reference in the world".
Aitana also remembered her "family, friends and work teams for accompanying me on this journey. Also, thanks to my parents, Rosa and Vicent, present here. You fought to change the surname rule in Spain and you succeeded. I carry this resilience in my blood and it is thanks to you".
Aitana answered some questions from the presenter, ex-footballer Didier Drogba, and it was obvious that she was nervous. She confessed: "I'm a bit nervous, I haven't slept for a few days. This is a dream for me. I'm a discreet person, but being here today is unique."
She acknowledged that "I've been lucky enough to play for a great club and national team with great players who have made me better. I've also been with the best coaching staffs and I've reached three Champions League finals and one World Cup final.... That says a lot about the mentality we have. I hope that this mentality continues for many years and that we win more titles".
On Barca's dominance in the Ballon d'Or (for two years as champion it's been Alexia and now Aitana), the player from Sant Pere de Ribes added: "It says a lot that this award has stayed at home for three years. We are a country that lives football with intensity and works forever to improve".
When asked about Pep Guardiola comparing her to Andrés Iniesta, Aitana said: "Guardiola is an idol for me. I didn't see him play, but I did live through his glorious period as Barça coach. They were the best years of my life. Pep comparing me to players like Iniesta, Xavi and co. is unique".
Topics with the letter