The FIFA Best Awards is one of the beautiful game’s most prestigious annual events and this year it was held at the Hammersmith Apollo in London – but who exactly was recognised as the crème de la crème of women’s football on the night?

It was a night that rounded off a dream year in their careers for many of the winners, including Spain and Barcelona Midfielder Aitana Bonmati.

Bonmati picked up one of the most anticipated awards of the night as she was named the FIFA Best Women’s Player of the year.

After winning the world cup with her national team last summer and helping Barcelona to become continental treble winners, it’s hard to argue against the midfield maestro being crowned the best.

Bonmati was one of three players on FIFA’s shortlist for the award alongside Spain teammate Jenni Hermoso and Colombian forward Linda Caceido who was the runner-up.

In her acceptance speech, the midfielder said: ‘’I owe this to Barca, to the national team, I owe it to the great season that we’ve played.

‘’I’d like to thank my teammates, without all of you I wouldn’t be here.’’

She added: ‘’I am proud to be a part of a powerful generation of women who are changing the game and the world.’’

It has been a stellar year for Bonmati as she also won Golden Ball award at the World Cup, the Ballon d’Or, and was named UEFA Women’s player of the year and Champions League player of the year.

England duo Sarina Wiegman and Mary Earps were also amongst those celebrated on the night as they were named the best women’s coach and best women’s goalkeeper, both for the second year running.

It was Weigman’s fourth time winning the best women’s coach award, the first being in 2017 during her spell with the Netherlands national team. This year however, it was her successes in both the Arnold Clark Cup and the Women’s Finalissima, on top of reaching the women’s world cup final, that saw her recognised as the best in her field ahead of Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and Barcelona’s Jonatan Giraldez.

Upon collecting her award, Wiegman said: ‘’I am very honoured, and I feel very privileged and humbled that I am here again.’’

Sarina Wiegman at a press conference. Image courtesy of James Boyes via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. License details can be found here.

The England manager has since announced an extension in her contract with the FA that will see her at the helm of the Lionesses until 2027, running through to the next FIFA Women’s World Cup.

This is excellent news for England fans, as well as the Lionesses themselves who have gone from strength to strength under the Dutch coach.

Rounding off her own perfect year with another individual title, goalkeeper Mary Earps used her acceptance speech at the FIFA Best Awards to talk about the importance of staying resilient in the face of injustice.

She said: ‘’I talk a lot about how it wasn’t the easiest journey here, I took the scenic route, but looking back now, it all makes sense. ‘’It made me so much more prepared for the challenges I face today and not to take a day for granted.’’

She added: ‘’If you are struggling, keep going. ‘’It is never too late to be who you are – 2023 showed we can change the world if we speak out against injustice, so let’s keep doing that.’’

Earps also claimed a spot in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 which was dominated by Lionesses this year.

The FIFA FIFPRO World 11 is the only award voted solely by professional football players, and seven out of eleven players that won the final vote this year were from the England national team.

The final team was as follows:

Goalkeeper –

  • Mary Earps (England and Manchester United)

Defenders –

  • Lucy Bronze (England and Barcelona)
  • Olga Carmona (Spain and Real Madrid)
  • Alex Greenwood (England and Manchester City)

Midfielders –

  • Aitana Bonmati (Spain and Barcelona)
  • Ella Toone (England and Manchester United)
  • Keira Walsh (England and Barcelona)

Forwards –

  • Alex Morgan (USA and San Diego Wave)
  • Alessia Russo (England and Arsenal)
  • Lauren James (England and Chelsea)
  • Samantha Kerr (Australia and Chelsea)

Featured image courtesy of El Loko Foto via Wikimedia Commons. No changes were made to this image. Image license found here.

By Emilie Mwanza

Founder of Beyond The 90. Trainee multimedia journalist based in Preston.