Lionel Messi described winning a Laureus award as “a special honour” as he
was crowned World Sportsman of the Year in Paris, while Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, called her award “one of the greatest honours of my career.”
The Paris Saint-Germain forward was a joint winner of the award in 2020 alongside Lewis Hamilton, but he took sole honours this time after leading Argentina to World Cup glory last year.
Messi won the World Cup for the first time in his glittering career in Qatar, earning the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player in the process, and on Monday he also collected the Laureus prize for Team of the Year on behalf of the triumphant Argentina squad.
The 35-year-old said: “This is a special honour, particularly as the Laureus World Sports Awards are in Paris this year, the city that has welcomed my family since we came here in 2021.
“I want to thank all my team-mates, not only from the national team but also at PSG – I have achieved none of this alone and I am grateful to be able to share everything with them.
“I want to thank the Laureus Academy – what makes these Awards so special to us as athletes is the fact they are voted for by these incredible champions, my heroes, and this puts my sporting achievements in true context.
“This is the first time I have been the sole winner of the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award and after a year when we finally won another prize we had been chasing for a long time, at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, it’s an honour to be able to hold this Laureus Statuette.”
Fraser-Pryce determined to influence next gen
Jamaican sprinter Fraser-Pryce scooped World Sportswoman of the Year after winning a record fifth 100m gold at the World Championships in 2022.
The Laureus Sports Awards honouring eight winners were held live in Paris on Monday night for the first time since 2020.
Fraser-Pryce, who has won three Olympic and 10 world championship gold medals, called her award “one of the greatest honours of my career.”
“When athletes have the spotlight, it’s important the example we set is the best it can be. We have a responsibility to influence the next generation in a positive way,” she said.
Manchester United and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen won Comeback of the Year following his return to football after collapsing on the pitch during Euro 2020, while tennis star Carlos Alcaraz was awarded World Breakthrough of the Year.
The award winners were voted for by the sporting greats who make up the members of the Laureus Academy.