Aitana Bonmatí was named by sports media reports as the major cause behind the team’s loss in Monday’s 5th UEFA Nations League match. The match ended in a 2-3 loss for the Spanish women’s national football team against Italy. Bonmatí reportedly informed the coach very late before the second half began that she was indisposed and couldn’t play anymore. The squad played with one fewer player for most of the second half, during which they received the remaining goals, due to the coach of the Spanish side Montse Tomé lack of time to make the substitution.
Five things that you may not know about Aitana Bonmatí:
1. 2023 Ballon d’Or winner
On October 30, Aitana won her maiden Ballon d’Or, following the footsteps of her former teammate Alexia Putellas, who had won the award the previous two years. In addition, she created history by becoming only the second player in Spanish women’s football history to receive this prestigious award.
2. UEFA Women’s European player of the year
On August 31, she also took home the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year trophy, which is the second most important honour in European football. Here again, she followed in the footsteps of her colleague Alexia Putellas, who was also the winner of the award on the previous two occasions. By receiving this recognition, Aitana concluded the 2023 football season as the finest of her career, taking home the two most significant individual trophies and making football history for women.
3. Leader of Spain’s women’s football golden generation
A golden generation that has been battling very hard for several years to win a major trophy was rewarded with the Women’s World Cup, which was held in Australia and New Zealand between July and August. Yet again, Aitana Bonmatí emerged triumphant as the most influential player and was named the tournament’s best player at the end of it. Her qualities, abilities and leadership enabled the squad to enjoy a historic victory with their local supporters and win the biggest trophy in Spain’s football history.
4. Considering leaving her hometown club
Aitana has always played for FC Barcelona, her local team, but, as she has often stated, there were times when it was clear that she was considering leaving the team. At the age of 15, she wasn’t sure if she could aspire to be a professional player for a long career. Although it wasn’t very popular, women’s football was still developing throughout Europe.
As so many universities allowed athletes to study and play there, the USA was a hot topic at the time. Aitana admitted, along with her parents, that the University of Oregon was her top choice. Nevertheless, the following year, she was already in FC Barcelona’s first team squad and the rest is history.
5. Parents fight Spanish law relating to surnames
Another interesting fact about Aitana is that, unlike other Spanish citizens, she gets her surname Bonmatí from her mother rather than her father. Aitana’s mother’s last name is her first since her parents have been fighting to change this rule for a long time.
According to information provided in an interview, her parents opposed the Spanish law requiring each citizen’s first surname to include first their mother’s and then their father’s last names. Aitana’s parents worked extremely hard to change the order of her surnames, so Aitana’s full name is now Aitana Bonmatí Conca. She is proud of this because she looks up to her parents as role models for fighting for women’s rights.
Text: Raúl Pérez
Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0