Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi wins the Sportsman of the Year award at the annual Laureus World Sports Awards, while Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took the Sportswoman of the Year category. Messi captained Argentina, who was also named as Team of the Year, scored seven times and won the Golden Ball as his country won the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in December. Follow OBN for more!
“This is a special honor,” said Messi. “Particularly as the Laureus World Sports Awards are in Paris this year, the city that has welcomed my family since we came here in 2021.” This is the second time that the Argentine has won the award following 2020, becoming the first male football player to win the award. This year, he became the first athlete to win both individual and team awards in history. More football handicap and soccer news here!
“I was looking at the names of the incredible legends that won the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award before me: Schumacher, Woods, Nadal, Federer, Bolt, Hamilton, Djokovic… it really sunk in what unbelievable company I’m in and what a unique honor this is,” Messi added. The 35-year-old beat his PSG teammate and France talisman Kylian Mbappe, who also made a mark in the recent World Cup.
Other notable names in the list include Swede Mondo Duplantis, who beat his pole vault world record three times in 2022 and swept the world indoor and outdoor and Diamond League titles in the event; basketball player and NBA superstar Stephen Curry, tennis legend Rafael Nadal and Formula One driver Max Verstappen, who won last year.
Meanwhile, Fraser-Pryce, who last August earned a fifth world 100m crown at Eugene, won the Sportswomen award. The 36-year-old has more world sprint titles than any other athlete. “I was thrilled to be nominated alongside such inspiring women athletes, and to win this award, voted for by some of the greatest sportsmen and women of all time, is just amazing,” she said.
Young tennis player and US Open tennis champion Carlos Alcaraz earned the World Breakthrough of the Year award. Chinese freeskier Eileen Gu won Action Sportsperson of the Year after taking two golds and a silver at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Swiss para-athlete sensation Catherine Debrunner meanwhile picked up the Disability Award.
In a special recognition, Christian Eriksen, who recovered from the cardiac arrest he suffered at the European Championship in 2021, received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award following his return to near-tragedy and playing for Brentford and Manchester City, as well as Denmark at the World Cup.
The recipients of the awards were carefully chosen by the international media, and the winners are decided by a jury composed of 71 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, representing the past 50 years of athletic excellence. Since 2000, the awards have been regarded as the most prestigious in the sporting world and are frequently referred to as the “Academy Awards of Sport.”