PSG forward and Argentina 2022 World Cup hero, Lionel Messi, has emerged as the winner of Laureus 2023 Sportsman Of The Year Award
Messi clinched the award ahead of his PSG teammate, Kylian Mbappe, who was the only other footballer that was nominated for the award category.
Other two contenders who were also nominated for the award category were Belgian Motorsports driver, Max Verstappen, and world tennis icon, Raphael Nadal.
Lionel Messi and Kylian joined the list of the award nominees after their heroic and standout performances for their respective national teams in the World Cup.
Kylian Mbappe was the face of France national team in the 2022 World Cup, nudging 8 goals in the tournament including the first hat-trick in a World Cup final since 1966 to clinch the Golden Boot award.
Lionel Messi also had a legendary outing for the Albiceleste in the 2022 World Cup. After a shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, Lionel Messi shouldered the task of an incredible and victorious comeback that saw the team go all the way to clinch the trophy.
Messi racked up 7 goals in the tournament, including a brace in the final to finish behind Kylian Mbappe in the top-scorers chart. He ended his 18 years wait for the trophy after he led the team to a penalty shootout win over France.
Messi won the best player of the tournament in addition to clinching the most coveted football trophy in the world.
Speaking after bagging Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award, Lionel Messi expressed his happiness for the award.
He also referenced his signature tournament that won him the award, saying it was a special moment for him and his teammates to finally clinch the trophy that has eluded him in his almost two decades of active career in football.
“I’m very happy to be attending this year – especially as it is in the city where I live.
“I want to be able to enjoy it. It was a very special moment in Qatar.
“I won the trophy I was missing. It was special also for my team-mates and the whole country.
“Football has been a way of life for me. Sport in general unites people with values.”
Lionel Messi also took to social media to thank his family and teammates that supported him and made the 2022 World Cup triumph possible.
He wrote, “Thank you very much for this award so special for the world of sports, the Laureus award.
“Both individual and collective recognition are the results of the success of all. I fulfilled my dream by lifting the World Cup, a dream that was actually shared by all Argentinians, for that the prices are for all Argentinians.
“Thanks to my loved ones and family who respect and support me always and of course to the media around the world and the Academy of Laureus for choosing us.
Lionel Messi’s wife Antonela Roccuzzo congratulates husband for clinching the Laureus award
Lionel Messi’s wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, sent a hearty congratulatory message to her footballer husband for clinching the Laureus award.
Taking to social media, Antonela Roccuzzo shared a picture of herself and Lionel Messi at the awards ceremony and wrote;
“Love congratulations. Leo Messi you deserve this and much more.”
Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandwoski meet at Laureus Award Ceremony in Paris
Barcelona legend Robert Lewandwoski were spotted together at the Gala event in Paris. Lewandwoski attended the event as a guest as he was not one of the nominees for this year’s award.
He won Laureus 2022 Exceptional Achievement Awards while he was playing for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Lewandwoski was seen having a lengthy discussion with Lionel Messi at the event.
Lewandwoski has been candid of his respect and admiration for Lionel Messi and has not hidden his fancy of playing alongside Lionel Messi in Barcelona.
The footage of the conversation between the two at the awards ceremony in Paris has further fueled rumors of Messi’s imminent exit from PSG and a possible return to Barcelona.
Despite clinching the Laureus Award, Messi is not at the best moment in his club career.
He was banned from PSG squad last week following his unsanctioned trip to Saudi Arabia but was reinstated back to the squad on Monday.
His two-year contract at PSG is yet to be renewed and he is set to leave PSG at the end of the season with rumors linking him to Al-Hillal in Saudi Arabia.
Other Footballers who won the Laureus 2023 Award
It was a star-studded red carpet event in Paris as several football stars who won the award graced the event.
Manchester United mifielder, Christian Eriksen won the Laureus Comeback of the The Year Award.
Christian Eriksen suffered a devastating cardiac arrest in 2020 while playing for Denmark Euros 2020.
The whole world rallied around him till his recovery and return to the pitch. Christian Eriksen is now having a great career at Manchester United having won his first trophy since recovering from the cardiac arrest.
Another Manchester United star Lisandro Martinez won the award as a Member of the World Team of the Year.
Lisandro Martinez was a member of Argentina national team that won the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Argentina national team won World Team of the Year after they won the 2022 World Cup, defeating France on penalties.