Messi and Lewis Hamilton share Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award
The Barça star gained the same number of votes as Lewis Hamilton - the first time it has happened. He is the first footballer to win Laureus' top award.
Leo Messi gained another career first this evening by becoming the first footballer to win the prestigious Laureus World Best Sportsman Award. That wasn't the only first at tonight's 20th Laureus Sports awards ceremony at Berlin's Verti Musi Hall - for the first time in history two candidates polled the same number of votes, so the Messi shared the award with Lewis Hamilton.
Messi entered the vioting with a pretty strong case - last year he picked up his sixth Ballon d'Or, won FIFA's The Best as well as his sixth Golden Shoe (36 goals). That ensured he finished past the other candidates - Rafa Nadal, Marc Márquez, Eliud Kipchoge and Tiger Woods but level with Hamilton. Messi has been nominated for the award five times in previous editions but this was the first time he, or any footballer, has won.
Messi wasn't on hand to pick up his award in Berlin - he is in Dubai, making the most of the mini-break Quique Setién has handed the squad. As ambassador for Expo 2020, he has publicity commitments to attend to and it was too late to rearrange this timetable. He accepted the award via a video link: "It would have been nice to be there tonight. I'd like to extend my thanks to the academy because this is a very importart and special award and to be the first footballer to win it as a team member, and individually," Messi said.
LAUREUS AWARDS WINNERS
World Sportsman of the Year
Leo Messi (football) and Lewis Hamilton (F1)
World Sportswoman of the Year
Simone Biles (USA)
World Team of the Year
World Breakthrough of the Year
Egan Bernal (Cycling)
World Comeback of the Year
Sophia Flörsch (Motor racing)
Action Sportsperson of the Year
Chloe Kim (SnowboardING)
Sportsperson of the Year with a disability
Oksana Masters (Cycling/Skiing)
Laureus academy exceptional achievement award
Spanuish Basketball Federation
Dirk Nowitzki (Basketball)
Best moment 20 years
Sachin Tendulkar (Cricket)