Manchester City won big at the UEFA Awards with both Erling Haaland and Pep Guardiola running out winners in the men’s player and coach categories. Barcelona and Spain’s Aitana Bonmati successfully defended her title while Sarina Wiegman also enjoyed success in the women’s player and coach categories. Although Kevin De Bruyne was arguably expected to edge Haaland, it was no surprise to see Guardiola and Bonmati rewarded while.
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Men’s player: Although De Bruyne was arguably expected to win this one ahead of Haaland, it was not really a surprise to see the Norway international rewarded after 52 goals from 53 games across all competitions last season. The 23-year-old helped Guardiola’s men to a treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup triumphs and top scored in both the league (36) and Europe (12). De Bruyne and Lionel Messi finished behind Haaland in the awards ceremony which came after the group stage draw which saw City paired with RB Leipzig for a third consecutive year as well as Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys in Group G.
Women’s player: On the women’s side, defending titleholder Aitana Bonmati was strong favorite coming into this and defended her title thanks to her role in Barcelona’s latest Women’s Champions League title as well as being one of three players to score three times during Spain’s Women’s World Cup success. Teammate and final goal scorer Olga Carmona of Real Madrid was also in the reckoning, as was Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia.
Men’s coach: In the men’s coach category, it was difficult to see past City’s Guardiola after last season’s superb showing which was crowned with Champions League success after a long wait for both club and coach. It proved to be the case although Simone Inzaghi did a brilliant job to lead Inter to the Istanbul final where they were not blown away by Guardiola’s City. Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli won plaudits as part of a Serie A show of power in Europe, but there was realistically only ever going to be one winner.
Women’s coach: As for the women’s coach award, this one was quite Spanish-dominated with World Cup-winning coach Jorge Vilda and Barcelona boss Jonatan Giraldez both in contention. Beaten WWC finalist England boss Sarina Wiegman was also in the reckoning, though, given the links between her and the Netherlands men’s national team with an eye on the future as well as the Luis Rubiales scandal engulfing Vilda, it was between Wiegman and Giraldez with the former running out winner in the end.