Thursday, August 31 was not only about the UEFA Champions League draw. After wrapping up the draw for the 2023-24 group stage, European football's governing body announced the winners of their annual awards.
This includes the Coach of the Year prize in both the men's and women's game while the best men's and women's players were also crowned on the stage.
To no one's surprise, Pep Guardiola was named the best manager of the 2022-23 campaign, beating out competition from Luciano Spalletti and Simone Inzaghi after winning the treble — the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup titles.
Unfortunately, the Spaniard, who has undergone back surgery, is still recovering and was not able to pick up his prize.
Meanwhile, Sarina Wiegman was the recipient of the 2022/23 UEFA Women's Coach of the Year after her remarkable year with England, leading the Lionesses to the UEFA Women's Euro title last summer before finishing second in the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer.
She beat out competition from Spain boss Jorge Vilda and Barcelona tactician Jonatan Giráldez. Additionally, Wiegman also took time to publicly show her support for Jenni Hermoso and the Spanish players following the controversy involving their FA president Luis Rubiales. Rubiales was caught on camera kissing Hermoso while handing her her medal, with Sarina highlighting this issue during her speech on the podium.
"I would like to dedicate this award to Spain's women's national team"— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) August 31, 2023
"They deserve to be celebrated and listened to"
UEFA Women's Coach of the Year, Sarina Wiegman with a beautiful message #UEFAawards pic.twitter.com/46b7ysCLKm
Aitana Bonmatí, the Barcelona sensation who won the UEFA Women's Champions League last season and led Spain to the FIFA Women's World Cup title this summer, won the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.
The 25-year-old midfield maestro, who is all but destined to win the Ballon d'Or this year, capped off her remarkable year with yet another individual trophy.
As for UEFA's Men's Player of the Year, the obvious recipient was Erling Haaland, with the Norwegian striker winning this award after his historic goalscoring exploits en route to the treble.
Aitana Bonmatí and Erling Haaland win their respective UEFA Players of the Year award pic.twitter.com/aBb0LXyqlV— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 31, 2023
The Manchester City superstar beat out competition from 2022 FIFA World Cup winner Lionel Messi and club teammate Kevin de Bruyne. All eyes turn to the Ballon d'Or where Haaland is expected to face stiff competition from those two same players again.