- Barcelona won Liga F and the Women’s Champions League during the 2022/23 season
- Three Barça players – Aitana Bonmati, Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh – were voted into the 2023 FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11 by women’s football players from around the globe
- The team-mates highlight the qualities each of the three bring to one of women’s football’s most dominant club sides
It came as no surprise to see a strong Barcelona presence in the 2023 FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World 11, after a stellar season in which the club claimed Spain’s Liga F and the Women’s Champions League.
Over 6,000 women’s football players from around the globe voted for their team of the year and selected en masse three Barça stars: Aitana Bonmati, Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh.
It marked Bonmati’s first year in the World 11 after an unforgettable season that also saw her win the 2023 Women’s World Cup with Spain and being crowned the tournament’s best player.
"Aitana brings everything. She's got energy, she's competitive," said Bonmati’s club team-mate Lucy Bronze. "When you talk about Spanish players, everyone is going to talk about technical ability, which obviously Aitana has in abundance. But I think what makes her special is that competitive mindset, that she just wants to win all the time. She's that player that you love when she's on your team and you hate when she's against you."
Known for his class when gracing the turf, Bonmati’s qualities as a team-mate stretch beyond the pitch – just ask Keira Walsh.
"As a person, for me, Aitana is unbelievable. Away from the pitch, she really helped me settle at Barcelona," said Walsh. "On the pitch, she makes my life a lot easier. When you’re playing with someone of her quality, you can see how it’s no accident that she’s claiming all these trophies this year. I’m very grateful that I get the chance to train with her every day and see what it takes to be as good as she is."
Bronze: Consistent at the top
The inclusion of Bronze in the 2023 World 11 marked her sixth appearance in the team of the year, something which few players have achieved. Only Wendie Renard (7) has more, which illustrates how highly thought of Bronze, 32, is amongst her peers.
"[Lucy] is a very experienced player already," said Bonmati. "Imagine she's been [in the World 11] six times! She has a long career with a lot of collective titles. She's played in great teams. She's a great full-back, unique in the world. She is an example for many. And she's a great person too."
Walsh agrees: "Being in the World 11 for six years is an unbelievable achievement and I think to be recognised for that long and sustain such a high level for that amount of time is really difficult and not many players do it.
"It’s no surprise that Lucy has achieved this because I've seen how hard she's worked. It’s not stopping now, so I'm guessing she's going to be trying to get in it again next year."
Walsh and Bonmati: Midfield synergy
Walsh is no stranger to the World 11. The 26-year-old midfielder made it back-to-back appearances in the team of the year after first making her debut in 2022.
"I get on great with Keira. She's a great person but also a great player," Bonmati said of her team-mate. "She brings us her quality, her understanding of the game, how she moves the ball and how she reads the filtered passes she makes.
"Keira also has a very good shot on the ball. For me it's a pleasure to play with her because we understand each other perfectly."
Walsh enjoyed a debut season to remember at Barcelona last campaign and her love of the game remains as strong as ever.
She said: "For me, it doesn't feel like a job. I'm playing a sport that I've loved from the age of five years old. You get to do something that you love every single day."