Advanced Team Fundamentals II – System 🆚 System

Aitana Bonmatí: Mastering the Game



Aitana Bonmatí is celebrating the victory at the World Cup with Spain national team

Spain won the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup after defeating England (1-0) in the final. Among a group of very talented players, Aitana Bonmatí (FC Barcelona) stood out and was awarded the Golden Ball. The advanced midfielder guided her team to their first major trophy with performances that combined excellent perception skills, game understanding, and exquisite technique. In this analysis, we have focused on some of the individual fundamentals that helps Aitana Bonmatí master the game and be one of the best players of her era.

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Ball Control

Aitana Bonmatí employs a unique control technique in her gameplay, one that adapts to the evolving dynamics of the match. She initiates her drive with deliberate precision, executing long touches on the ball when bis spaces are available. However, as the available space becomes smaller, her touches become shorter and more controlled. Beyond this, her strategic objective extends to pinning her opponent, with the ultimate aim of providing her teammates the maximum advantage when they receive the ball.

Aitana – 1. Ball control

Aitana, driving the ball using long touches as there is a big amount of space in front of her. As she gets closer to her defender, she adapts the type of touches.

Stay connected to the game

Another key aspect of her game is the high level of concentration and constant scanning that allows her to stay connected to the game. She maintains close proximity to the action at all times, never disengaging from the game. Her proactive approach extends to being actively involved in second ball plays. Furthermore, as we can see in the example below, following a successful recovery of the ball she prioritizes risk reduction and ensures ball possession, contributing to her team’s overall strategy.

Aitana – 2. Connected to the game

The Spanish star player is always concentrated and near the action to be ready for winning the second balls.

Avoid crowding ball possessor

Aitana Bonmatí also demonstrates a keen understanding of the importance of spacing to facilitate continuous gameplay. She distances herself from the ball possessor to provide continuity in the game. Her ability to unlock plays often involves making quick, first-touch passes with the precise strength and to the correct teammate’s foot. Furthermore, she is constantly scanning to perceive relevant information throughout the match, exemplifying her commitment to making informed decisions on the field.

Aitana Bonmatí mastering the game. FC Barcelona's advanced midfielder understands the basic universal fundamentals and does not crowd the ball possessor

Aitana – 3. Do not crowd the ball possessor

Aitana understand perfectly the basic fundamentals related to positioning, and does not crowd the ball possessor.

Understand depth

In terms of depth, Aitana also understands perfectly when to adjust her own positioning. She tries to keep a high position, usually behind the opponent midfielder’s line but when her teammate in possession of the ball is under pressure, she intelligently lowers her position to create a passing lane and provide continuity to the game. Furthermore, she displays a deep understanding of passing priorities by often looking far and playing to the furthest line.

Aitana Bonmatí mastering the game. She understands perfectly how to adjust her distance based on whether the ball possessor is being pressed or has time

Aitana – 4. Adjust depth

Aitana understand perfectly the basic fundamentals related to positioning, and does not crowd the ball possessor.

Anticipate and attack gaps

Her outstanding perceptions skills and game understanding allows her to anticipate movements to surprise her opponents. She identifies potential gaps that may open up to attack them. Rather than solely focusing on the ball and always ask for the ball on her feet, she cleverly utilizes spatial threat, making her gameplay less predictable. Additionally, she strategically positions herself behind her marker, making it difficult for her opponent to control both her and the ball at the same time. This allows her to gain advantage versus her direct opponent.

Aitana Bonmatí mastering the game. She has excellent perception to read the gaps and attack them with determination

Aitana – 5. Attack gaps

In this example, she gets her opponent back, perceives a gap in the defensive line and attacks it with determination.

Defensive awareness

Last but not least, FC Barcelona and Spain’s advanced midfielder also shows great defensive understanding which allows her to recover many balls when her team is pressing. In the example below, which precedes the goal that gave Spain their first FIFA Women’s World Cup, we can see how she reduces distance with the ball possessor, closes a potential passing line on her back and then recovers the ball. It is noticeable how she lowers her center of gravity, keeps her body active and does not rush into tackling her opponent. These basic individual fundamentals, usually learnt during the initiation stage (U6-U13) are key for her defensive success.

Aitana Bonmatí mastering the game not only in the offensive phase but also defending. She is smart to read passing lines and track opponents to recover the ball

Aitana – X. Defensive Understanding

Aitana has the ability to perceive passing lines, and track the ball possessor at the same time as closing potential passing options.


In conclusion, Aitana Bonmatí masters most of the skills that makes an excellent advanced midfielder. Not only she possesses technique, but she complements it will outstanding perceptions skills and game understanding. In addition, she shows high levels of concentration which allow her to stay connected and offer continuity to the actions throughout the whole game. Despite being recognized for her offensive fundamentals, she is able to recover many balls thanks to her excellent positioning and game understanding.

On top of all these skills, she shows a strong leadership which makes her one of the best players in the world, and key both for Spain national team and FC Barcelona.

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