The world’s top footballer Lionel Messi and the dominant F1 driver Lewis Hamilton were jointly declared the winners of the prestigious Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award on Monday, February 17.
Six-time Formula One world champion Hamilton as well as six-time FIFA World Player of the Year Messi were so close in terms of their achievements in 2019 that even the ultimate sporting jury; the Laureus World Sports Academy, could not split them, with the voting being tied for the very first time in the 20-year history of the Laureus Awards.
Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, became the first football player to get the award; after steering Barcelona to its 26th Spanish league title; while Hamilton won his sixth Formula One championship in 2019.
“I have been inspired by so many of you,” said Hamilton, and he was also handed the award by former Arsenal manager; Arsene Wenger who was likewise at the ceremony in the German capital, Berlin.
Messi did not travel to Berlin for the prize but sent a video message.
"I am honoured to be the first to win this award being a sportsperson coming from a team sport."
— Laureus (@LaureusSport) February 17, 2020
Simone Biles confirmed her place in the history of Laureus; winning her third coveted Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award in four years.
At the Gymnastics World Championships in Germany in 2019; the 22-year-old won five gold medals; including a record fifth all-around world title; and helped the United States win a fifth straight team medal. Biles has now won 25 World Championship medals; proving herself as the most decorated gymnast in history.
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the only worldwide awards event to recognise the best athletes of the past year in various categories.