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FC Barcelona were very much in the spotlight at Thursday's Marca Football Awards Gala 2022-2023, with the cameras flashing this year at the very foot of Montjuïc, the hill where the team has been displaying its many talents this season.
Award winners Robert Lewandowski, Ter Stegen and Pedri were joined by further club representation led by president Joan Laporta, joined by Rafael Yuste, first vice-president of the Sports Area, Miquel Camps, board member, Joan Soler, board member, Enric Masip, Anderson Luis de Souza “Deco”, director of football, and Bojan Krkic, coordinator of the Football Area.
Di Stefano prize for Ter Stegen
Elegantly dressed in back, Marc ter Stegen collected the Di Stéfano Player of the Season Award, saying on receipt that “this prize is thanks to the way the team as a whole works."
He also spoke about the present, saying "I need to wait to see how this lumbago develops. I'll see how I'm feeling and talk to the doctors to see whether I'm able to play."
🏆 Marc ter Stegen receives the MVP Award for the best player in La Liga last season! 👏 pic.twitter.com/IGBeOzCDe4— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 23, 2023
First Zamora too
That was the first of two awards that Ter Stegen collected. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Barça goalkeeper since 2014/15 had never before won the prize for the goalkeeper with the best record in La Liga, an award Ter Stegen did collect in 2012 when playing for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
It's the 21st time that a Barça stopper has won the prize, with Antoni Ramallets and Víctor Valdés having no fewer than five each. The latter actually won it four times in a row, a record shared with Jan Oblak of Atlético Madrid, who is the main reason why Ter Stegen hadn't won it before.
“The way the defence worked as a unit was spectacular last season" said the German in his acceptance speech, comparing the way the team bonds on the pitch to a family.
Ninth top scorer award for Lewandowski
But a man who is very, very used to collecting individual prizes is Robert Lewandowski, whose first top goalscorer award came in 2009/10 after netting 18 times for Lech Poznań in the Polish Ekstraklasa. Afterwards, at Borussia Dortmund and then Bayern Munich in Germany, he topped the charts no fewer than seven times, and he then did it again in his first season in La Liga, earning him his first 'Pichichi' trophy.
The top scorer in the Spanish top flight has been a Barça player on 20 occasions, led of course by Leo Messi, who won the award a simply flabbergasting eight different times.
“I want to thank the team and the coach, who've helped me a lot" he told the audience when his big moment arrived. "This hasn't stopped my hunger to achieve more. We are Barça and there is a long season still to go."
And the 2022/23 Pichichi Award goes to Robert Lewandowski!!!!!!!!! 💥 pic.twitter.com/mlNnm6tynx— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 23, 2023
This is the third time that both the Pichichi and Zamora have landed at Barça. Lewandowski and Ter Stegen are only the second pairing ever to win them in the same year, following on from Leo Messi and Víctor Valdés in the 2009/10 and 2011/12 seasons.
Pedri was the other Barça winner of the day, winning the Fans Vote for Player of the Season. Also dashingly dressed, on collecting the trophy he said ”I want Gavi to know that the whole squad are with him."
He also mentioned an anecdote that got both Lewandowski and Ter Stegen smiling: ”Before games I like to listen to classical music because it makes me feel more relaxed before I go out onto the pitch." And judging by the quality of his football, it works.
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