Messi scoops individual, team Laureus double, Fraser-Pryce honoured
Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been crowned Laureus Sportsman of the Year for the first time at the 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards held virtually on Monday. Adding to his individual accolade, his club Barcelona was also named Laureus Team of the Year.
Messi beat fellow nominees, including five-time champion Cristiano Ronaldo, to win the award. The 34-year-old, who has spent most of his professional career at Barcelona, helped Argentina win the Copa America for the first time in 28 years in 2021. Messi scored four goals in the tournament, including one in the final against Brazil.
In a pre-recorded message, Messi said, “I am really happy to be receiving this award. It’s a great honor because I’ve been following Laureus since I was a boy. Thank you to everyone who voted for me, everyone who has been a part of my career, and my family who supports me every day.”
Barcelona’s award came after they won the Copa del Rey and Copa de la Liga last season, both times beating rivals Athletic Bilbao in the final. They also lifted the Spanish Super Cup in January 2021. Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets received the award on behalf of the team.
“I want to thank Laureus for this recognition of our team’s successes,” said Busquets. “It’s been a difficult year for all of us, but moments like these put a smile on our face. Thanks again for this great recognition.”
In the women’s category, Jamaican track and field athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was named Laureus Sportswoman of the Year. Fraser-Pryce became the second athlete after US sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner to win four Olympic 100m medals. She also won a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the Tokyo Olympics.
Upon receiving her award, Fraser-Pryce said, “Being a part of Laureus is significant. There are so many incredible athletes. It’s humbling to know that I’m one of the recipients. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who voted. It means a lot.”
Other winners at the 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards included Italian soccer club Inter Milan, who were named Laureus Sporting Inspiration for their much-improved performances after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted their 2019/20 season. Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli won the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year award for his kind gesture towards Australian batsman Steve Smith during the 2019 World Cup.
In conclusion, the 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards celebrated outstanding performances and achievements across various sports and recognized the hard work and dedication of athletes and teams. Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and other winners have set a benchmark for aspiring athletes across the globe. The awards ceremony also highlighted the importance of sportsmanship and camaraderie in sports, which are essential for the growth and development of any athlete or team.