Last Updated: February 21, 2023, 19:17 IST
Rafael Nadal, Lionel Messi (Twitter)
The tennis legend had an extraordinary season last year. However, the Spaniard has now endorsed Messi as the most deserving sportsman for the coveted Laureus award this year
Rafael Nadal has been nominated for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award alongside Lionel Messi, Stephen Curry, Kylian Mbappe, Max Verstappen, and Mondo Duplantis.
The tennis legend had an extraordinary season last year. However, the Spaniard has now endorsed Messi as the most deserving sportsman for the coveted Laureus award this year.
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Nadal shared two Instagram Stories to back Messi for the award and to express his gratitude for the nomination. Nadal wrote, “An honor to be nominated again for the Laureus Sportsman of the year. But… this year… let’s go Messi, you deserve it.”
Rafael Nadal has won many hearts with his gesture. Besides, his Instagram Story has whipped up a storm on social media. Many Messi fans have praised Nadal for his magnanimity.
One fan wrote, “Nadal wants Messi to win Laureus Sportsman of the Year award. That too from a hardcore Madridsta.”
Another fan tweeted, “One of the Greatest recognises The Greatest.”
Lionel Messi got his crowning moment in 2022 as he led Argentina to a memorable World Cup triumph in Qatar. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner played a pivotal role in his side’s euphoric win and was even awarded the Golden Ball for being the best player at the FIFA World Cup 2022. Therefore, it isn’t really surprising to see Nadal rooting for Messi. Nadal also shared on his Instagram Story that he wants compatriot Carlos Alcaraz to win the Breakthrough of the Year Award.
It is worth noting that Nadal himself had a stunning 2022. The 36-year-old won the Australian Open and the French Open to move on to 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Moreover, Nadal went on a 20-match unbeaten streak to kick-start his 2022 campaign, despite only just coming back from injury. So it is indeed remarkable for Nadal to back Messi for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award.
Although Messi is the favourite, it will be interesting to see who finally ends up winning the award.
On the women’s side, the nominees for the Sportsman of the Year award are Katie Ledecky (Swimming), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Athletics), Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (Athletics), Alexia Putellas (Football), Iga Swiatek (Tennis), and Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine Skiing).
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