Ballon d'Or slammed after Djokovic presents women's award to Spain star

By Hoang Nguyen   November 1, 2023 | 12:35 am PT
Ballon d'Or slammed after Djokovic presents women's award to Spain star
Aitana Bonmati does her acceptance speech with Novak Djokovic standing on the side during the Ballon d'Or ceremony on Oct. 30, 2023. Photo by AFP
France Football, the organizer of Ballon d'Or, was criticized for disrespecting women's football as they chose tennis superstar Novak Djokovic to present the award to Spain's Aitana Bonmati.

Bonmati was awarded the Ballon d'Or Feminin on Monday at the ceremony in Paris, France with Djokovic as the presenter. Fans were not happy with a male tennis player presenting the women's award.

Some pointed out that Djokovic, who is regarded as the best tennis player ever with a record 24 Grand Slam titles, once sparked controversy after suggesting men should be paid more than women in tennis, according to The Sun.

"I don't understand why Djokovic presented this. He's not even a feminist or an ally of women's sports! He has advocated against equal pay in tennis!" one fan commented on The Sun.

France Football was also criticized for bringing the award out late when Bonmati was ready to do her acceptance speech so that Djokovic could only read her name out and shake her hand instead of handing her the trophy.

Meanwhile, football icons like David Beckham presented the men's award to Lionel Messi, Gary Lineker gave the Gerd Muller award (for best striker) to Erling Haaland and Eden Hazard did the same with Jude Bellingham for the best young player award.

In addition, many famous female footballers could not attend the ceremony on Monday due to Women’s Nations League games taking place this week.

France Football was also under fire for not having U21, goalkeeper or top goalscorer awards for women.

Bonmati, 25, had an amazing season at both club and country level.

She won the Primera Division, Women's Champions League and Supercopa de Espana with Barcelona.

The midfielder was also named player of the tournament after winning the Women's World Cup with Spain.

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