Rafael Nadal backs Lionel Messi to win Laureus World Sports Award despite being nominated

Rafael Nadal has given Lionel Messi his backing for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award despite being nominated against the PSG star in the same category. Messi has won the award just once in a tie with Lewis Hamilton while the Spaniard has four different Laureus victories to his name, including two for Sportsman.

Nadal and Messi have both been nominated in this year’s Laureus World Sports Awards, finding themselves up against Kylian Mbappe, Max Verstappen, Mondo Duplantis and Stephen Curry in the Sportsman of the Year category. It comes after an impressive 2022 for both, with the tennis icon winning two Grand Slams to set a record of 22 men’s singles titles which was later equalled by Novak Djokovic this year.

Meanwhile, Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory for the first time in 36 years and received the Golden Ball in the process. And it seems that even Nadal himself believes the 35-year-old’s achievements are worthy of this year’s Laureus award as he threw his weight behind the Argentina forward despite being nominated against him.

“An honour to be nominated again to the @laureussport Sportman of the year…” Nadal wrote on his Instagram story following the nominations announcement, before adding: “But… This year…”

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