Flashscore Awards: Aitana Bonmatí voted player of the year 2023

Aitana Bonmatí was the best player at the World Cup.
Aitana Bonmatí was the best player at the World Cup.AFP
The midfielder recently won the Ballon d'Or and is the leading candidate for The Best, an award she is aiming to receive in February.

The Flashscore News editorial team, made up of journalists from more than a dozen countries, has named Aitana Bonmatí as the 2023 Player of the Year.

Her teammate Alexia Putellas had been the big star of the previous two years, but the serious knee injury she suffered in the build-up to Euro 2022 meant her name was dropped from the list of candidates for the individual awards.

Nevertheless, the award remains in the family, as FC Barcelona have established themselves as the benchmark club in Europe after winning the Champions League.

Aitana, like Iniesta

All football fans are familiar with the virtues of Leo Messi, Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappé, but knowledge is not as extensive when it comes to women footballers. Can you explain, in a few words, how the Sant Pere de Ribes-born player plays? Pep Guardiola, who is 'in love' with her talent, summed it up in a simple phrase: "I'd say she's like the Iniesta of women's football".

Aitana Bonmatí's statistics.
Aitana Bonmatí's statistics.Flashscore

What's more, she has great dexterity with both legs and it's hard to tell which way she's going to dribble. She is also a virtuoso at feinting, especially without the ball, to get round her opponents. As her statistics show (16 goals and around 20 assists for her club last season), she is very skilful in the final pass and far from clumsy in front of goal.

A leader without borders

Whether or not she wears the captain's armband, she always behaves like one, whether at Barça or in a Spain shirt. She is often seen encouraging her teammates on the pitch, keeping up the pressure in the opposition half, and she does not go unnoticed when it is her turn to speak off the pitch (as evidenced by her moving speech when she received the Ballon d'Or).

Aitana at the Ballon d'Or gala.
Aitana at the Ballon d'Or gala.AFP

On the pitch, she has made a habit of performing a number of recitals, such as the double against Benfica in the Champions League or her exceptional performance against Real Madrid.

Bonmatí has already scored eight goals and provided six assists this season. Her average rating from the Flashscore ratings system (7.5 in Liga F and 8.6 in the continent's top competition) is more than impressive.

The World Cup: from doubt to MVP title

The dispute between the players and the RFEF, which erupted in 2022, has kept some of the national team's key players out of the Oceania event, such as Patri Guijarro and Mapi León.

Number 6 was also included in this group, but a last-minute change of heart meant that she was included in the team, along with others. She had missed previous meetings - almost 365 days without representing the country - before joining a list of high quality despite the absences.

The fact that Jorge Vilda's team triumphed in Australia and New Zealand is largely down to Aitana, who was named MVP of the tournament by FIFA. She crushed Costa Rica in the opener, went unnoticed in the subsequent group matches, shone against Switzerland (two goals and two assists) and lit up her team in the subsequent rounds.

She finished the tournament with a humble record - 3 goals and 2 assists - which is the clearest proof that it would be wrong to judge her on numbers alone. To return to the comparison made by Guardiola a few weeks ago, we need only recall that Iniesta only scored twice during the unforgettable tournament in South Africa in 2010, when Spain became world champions, just as she did this summer.

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