Yesterday saw the official announcement of the nominees for the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards.
The annually conducted ceremony honours the greatest athletes and teams of the year, with awards spanning from Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year to even the best sporting comeback.
The awards are all-encompassing in nature and almost every sport gets a fair bit of representation.
Football had a strong showing among the nominees for this year’s awards, as the Argentina and England Women’s national teams were both selected as candidates for the team of the year honour alongside European Champions Real Madrid.
Two Footballing superstars also made the cut for the coveted Sportsman of the Year award, with both Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi being part of the nominee list.
The other candidates include F1 World Champion Max Verstappen, Pole Vault World-record holder Mondo Duplantis, 2022 NBA finals’ MVP Steph Curry and Tennis Legend Rafael Nadal, who won a record-breaking 22nd Grand Slam title last year.
While all 6 nominees make a strong case for taking home the honour, this year’s award is almost certainly going to Lionel Messi.
The PSG forward completed a sporting fairytale as he led Argentina to World Cup glory while being the best player of the tournament.
The triumph in Qatar ended an anxiously long wait for millions of Argentinians and also a disappointment-filled journey for Messi himself.
The 35-year-old’s achievement was celebrated all over the world, and the sheer significance of his accomplishment makes Messi the likely winner of the honour.
We’re not alone in thinking so either, as one of Messi’s fellow nominees also vouched for the Argentine shortly after the candidates were announced.
In a proper ‘GOAT’ crossover, Rafael Nadal took to his Instagram to display his support for the forward.
He posted a couple of stories, with the first one acknowledging his nomination, while the second was all about giving Messi his co-sign.
He tagged the Argentine in a caption that read, ‘Come on Leo Messi, you deserve it.’
Receiving the backing of an icon such as Nadal is quite the achievement in itself, and it only gets more impressive when you consider that the 36-year-old is an ardent Real Madrid supporter.
As you probably know, Messi has provided many sleepless nights to the Merengue faithful, which has earned him quite a bit of notoriety among Madrid fans.
Placing this into context adds another dimension to Nadal’s co-sign, as it goes on to show that Messi is a larger-than-life figure.
Nevertheless, the Spaniard won’t mind missing out on the award, having won it on 2 separate occasions in the past.
Messi, on the other hand, looks all set to pick up his 2nd Sportsman of the year award, he won his first back in 2020 alongside F1 icon Lewis Hamilton.