Messi becomes first footballer to win Laureus World Sportsman of the Year

The Barcelona star won the prize jointly with F1 driver Lewis Hamilton

 Leo Messi fue reconocido con el premio Laureus 2020, el primer futbolista que lo logra | Laureus

Lionel Messi and Lewis Hamilton shared the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award on Monday at an event in the German capital Berlin. 

Javier Giraldo

@javiergiraldo

Barcelona star Messi becomes the first-ever footballer to claim the prize, while Formula One driver Hamilton was also a first-time winner, although there have been other winners from his field in the past. 

It's the first time in 20 years of the Laureus Awards that the gong has been shared, with Messi finally winning the Sportsman of the Year Award having previously been nominated on another five occasions. 

Messi and Hamilton succeed tennis player Novak Djokovic, who won the prize last year for the fourth time. Other previous winners include Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Usain Bolt, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Tiger Woods. 

The Argentina forward was not present at Monday's gala but did record a video: "Sorry that I cannot be there, I was really excited about the possibility of being present because of what it means. 

"I want to thank the Academy for this recognition, I am really honoured to be the first footballer to win it. For me, it's. a huge pleasure. I also want to thank my teammates and my family."

The other winner, Hamilton, was present and he received the prize from the French football coach Arsene Wenger.  

The other nominees included two Spaniards in tennis star Rafa Nadal and MotoGP racer Marc Márquez, as well as golfer Tiger Woods and long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge.

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