2023 Vietnam Golden Ball Award Ceremony: The second time for Hoang Duc.

Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc (The Cong – Viettel) surpassed Pham Tuan Hai (Hanoi FC) to win the 2023 Vietnamese Men’s Golden Ball.

When his name was announced in the Golden Ball category, Hoang Duc showed no emotion. Meanwhile, Tuan Hai smiled and watched his teammate from the national team step onto the podium. This is the second time Hoang Duc has won the award, after 2021. Tuan Hai, on the other hand, received the Silver Ball with a smile, considering it motivation to continue striving in 2024.

In the V-League 2023, Hoang Duc scored five goals, made five assists in 20 matches for Viettel. Tuan Hai slightly outperformed with six goals and five assists in 20 matches for Hanoi. Both were selected for the V-League All-Star team, while Hoang Duc was also chosen as the “Best Player of the League.” However, Tuan Hai also shone in the AFC Champions League, scoring four goals in the group stage, a better achievement than superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

At the national team level, Tuan Hai had better statistics with two goals in 13 matches, while Hoang Duc played four matches without scoring any goals. In the first two matches of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, Hoang Duc was not used. He also expressed regret for being unable to join the national team at the Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar due to injury. There, Tuan Hai scored against Japan in the opening match, though the national team left with three losses. The Asian Cup 2024 results were not considered for the 2023 Vietnamese Golden Ball vote.

Nguyen Hoang Duc receives the 2023 Vietnamese Golden Ball Award (Photo: Kha Hoa)

Like Tuan Hai, goalkeeper Dang Van Lam entered the Top 3 for the first time, despite playing for the national team since 2015 and making the AFF Cup All-Star team twice. Most players, upon receiving their awards, said they would use the honor as motivation to do even better in 2024.

The Vietnamese Golden Ball is organized by Saigon Liberation Newspaper, supported by the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), and has been awarded annually since 1995, starting with forward Le Huynh Duc. The award is inspired by the Golden Ball of France Football magazine, voted by journalists and experts. The ceremony is attended by many officials, including the Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Mr. Duong Anh Duc, who presented the Golden Ball to Hoang Duc at the end of the program.

The other two Golden Balls were awarded on February 19 to players receiving the award for the first time. Goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh won the women’s award, ending Huynh Nhu’s four-year winning streak. Kim Thanh, 31, from Long An, is Vietnam’s number one goalkeeper at the Women’s World Cup 2023. She made headlines for blocking a penalty shot from US forward Alex Morgan in the opening World Cup match. She was emotional and tearful as she thanked her family. “Thank you to my parents for giving birth to me, for making me who I am today,” she said.

Goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh receives the 2023 Vietnamese Golden Ball Award (Women’s Football) (Photo: Kha Hoa)

The Futsal Golden Ball was awarded to 33-year-old defender Pham Duc Hoa, the national team captain, following Tran Van Vu’s retirement. He was also named the best player of the 2023 national futsal league. Speaking of his family, the defender was moved to tears. After a pause, he continued with tearful eyes: “My family is my solid support and the motivation for my efforts over the years.”

The best midfielder of the V-League 2023, Nguyen Thai Son, continued to win the award for the best young male player at the Golden Ball gala, surpassing Khuat Van Khang and Nguyen Dinh Bac. Meanwhile, 20-year-old forward Ngoc Minh Chuyen won the award for the best young female player, after being the top scorer at the U19 Southeast Asian Championship 2023. The best foreign player was forward Rafaelson Bezerra Fernandes, also the top scorer of the V-League 2023 with 16 goals for Binh Dinh.

Awards Summary

Men’s Golden Ball: Hoang Duc Nguyen (The Cong Viettel)

Men’s Silver Ball: Pham Tuan Hai (Hanoi FC)

Men’s Bronze Ball: Dang Van Lam (Binh Dinh)

Women’s Golden Ball: Tran Thi Kim Thanh (Ho Chi Minh City I)

Women’s Silver Ball: Huynh Nhu (Lank FC, Portugal)

Women’s Bronze Ball: Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy (Ho Chi Minh City I)

Futsal Golden Ball: Pham Duc Hoa (Thai Son Nam Ho Chi Minh City)

Futsal Silver Ball: Chau Doan Phat (Thai Son Nam Ho Chi Minh City)

Futsal Bronze Ball: Ho Van Y (Thai Son Nam Ho Chi Minh City)

Best Young Male Player: Nguyen Thai Son (Thanh Hoa)

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