The Best FIFA Football Awards 2023 were held on Monday, December 18, 2023, in Zurich, Switzerland. The ceremony honored the best players, coaches, and teams of the year in men’s and women’s football.
The main awards were won by Lionel Messi and Aitana Bonmati, both from Barcelona and Argentina, who were named the Best FIFA Men’s Player and the Best FIFA Women’s Player respectively.
The 2023 FIFA Awards
Messi Wins Best Men’s Player
Messi beat Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski to win his second consecutive and third overall Best FIFA Men’s Player award. He had a phenomenal year, leading Barcelona to the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey, and UEFA Champions League titles, and Argentina to their first Copa America title since 1993. He scored 58 goals and provided 24 assists in 62 games for club and country, winning the European Golden Shoe and the Copa America Golden Boot.
Bonmati Wins Best Women’s Player
Bonmati edged out Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema to win her first Best FIFA Women’s Player award. She was the star of Barcelona’s historic quadruple of Primera Division, Copa de la Reina, Supercopa de Espana, and UEFA Women’s Champions League titles, becoming the first Spanish club to achieve the feat. She also helped Spain qualify for the 2024 UEFA Women’s Euro. She scored 28 goals and provided 18 assists in 41 games for club and country, winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League Best Player award.
Haaland Misses Out
Haaland was the runner-up for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award, losing to Messi by a narrow margin. He had a sensational year, scoring 64 goals and providing 15 assists in 60 games for Borussia Dortmund and Norway. He won the Bundesliga Golden Boot and the UEFA Champions League Top Scorer award, breaking several records along the way. He also helped Norway qualify for the 2024 UEFA Euro.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award
Tiebreaker With Haaland
The Best FIFA Men’s Player award was decided by a tiebreaker, as Messi and Haaland received the same number of votes from the four voting panels: national team captains, national team coaches, selected media representatives, and fans. The tiebreaker was based on the number of votes from the fans, and Messi won by a slight edge, receiving 51.3% of the fan votes, while Haaland received 48.7%.
8th Ballon d’Or for Messi
Messi’s Best FIFA Men’s Player award was his eighth major individual award of the year, as he also won the Ballon d’Or, the FIFA World Player of the Year, the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, the UEFA Forward of the Season, the IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker, the IFFHS World’s Best International Goal Scorer, and the IFFHS World’s Best Top Division Goal Scorer. He became the first player to win eight Ballon d’Or awards, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of five.
The Best FIFA Women’s Player Award
Spain and Barcelona Midfielder Bonmati
Bonmati’s Best FIFA Women’s Player award was her fifth major individual award of the year, as she also won the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, the UEFA Midfielder of the Season, the IFFHS World’s Best Woman Playmaker, and the IFFHS World’s Best Woman Top Division Goal Scorer. She became the second Spanish player to win the Best FIFA Women’s Player award, after her teammate Jenni Hermoso in 2020.
A Powerful Generation of Women Changing the World
Bonmati dedicated her award to all the women who are fighting for equality and justice in the world, especially in football. She said that she was proud to be part of a powerful generation of women who are changing the world with their talent, passion, and courage. She also thanked her teammates, coaches, family, and fans for their support and inspiration.
Reaction and Highlights
The Best FIFA Football Awards 2023 received mixed reactions from pundits and experts, who praised Messi and Bonmati for their deserved recognition but also questioned some of the other choices and results. Some of the controversial decisions were the exclusion of Cristiano Ronaldo from the Best FIFA Men’s Player shortlist, the inclusion of Nuno Espirito Santo as the Best FIFA Men’s Coach finalist, and the omission of Alexia Putellas from the Best FIFA Women’s Player shortlist.
Messi’s dominance in men’s football was evident in the other awards as well, as he was also named in the FIFA FIFPro Men’s World11, the FIFA Fan Award, and the FIFA Puskas Award. He became the first player to win the FIFA Fan Award twice, for his emotional tribute to Diego Maradona after scoring against Osasuna in November 2022. He also won the FIFA Puskas Award for his stunning solo goal against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League semi-final in May 2023.
Bonmati’s Inspiring Speech
Bonmati’s inspiring speech at the ceremony was widely applauded and shared on social media, as she spoke about the importance of women’s empowerment and the challenges that women face in football and society. She said that she hoped that her award would inspire more girls and women to pursue their dreams and overcome the barriers that they encounter. She also urged the football authorities and stakeholders to invest more in women’s football and ensure equal opportunities and treatment for all.
Highlights from the Ceremony
The ceremony was hosted by former England international Alex Scott and Swiss comedian Marco Rima, who entertained the audience with their jokes and sketches. The ceremony also featured musical performances by Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, and BTS, who sang their hit songs and collaborated with each other. The ceremony also honored the winners of the other awards, such as the Best FIFA Men’s Coach (Pep Guardiola), the Best FIFA Women’s Coach (Lluis Cortes), the Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper (Manuel Neuer), the Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper (Christiane Endler), the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World11, the FIFA Fair Play Award (Marcus Rashford), and the FIFA Special Award (Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci).