The Laureus Sportsman of the Year is one of the most prestigious awards on the planet.
It rewards the most outstanding sporting achievements of the year and even getting nominated to it is a huge achievement.
However, one of the nominees, Rafael Nadal stunned everyone by doing the unthinkable!
Nadal publicly urged fans to vote for Messi to win the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award.
This is the ultimate act of sportsmanship, as the Laureus Award is one of the most prized trophies which every sporting superstar craves for, but rarely wins!
Both Nadal and Messi have been nominated for the Award alongside the likes of Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen, PSG star Kylian Mbappe, and others.
Messi fulfilled arguably the ultimate goal of his football career as he led Argentina to the World Cup title in Qatar late last year.
Deeply moved by the events, Nadal insists that the Award belongs to Messi this season and urged all of his fans to vote for the Argentina skipper.
Reacting to his nomination on Instagram, Nadal wrote: “An honour to be nominated again to the Laureus Sportsman of the Year… but… this year… Let’s go @LeoMessi you deserve it.”
Messi has now seen the message from the legendary Spanish star and says that it has left him speechless.
“For an athlete of your stature to say this about me leaves me speechless. Thank you very much….you also deserve everything for the way you compete every time you go out on the court,” Messi wrote in a message translated from Spanish.
“You’re a winner, we still have a lot of competition out there, right? Everyone deserves the Laureus this year!”
While Nadal moved into the men’s Grand Slam all-time lead in 2022 and Messi led his country to World Cup glory still other nominees have put in incredible efforts.
Nadal previously said that the look in Messi’s eyes when he scored in the final was something that any sportsman could relate to.
“That someone so great reaches the culmination with a title that was missing, of this calibre, with all that it means for Argentina, it seemed fair to me, I enjoyed it and I was moved,” he told AS last December.
“Without supporting Argentina, when Messi scored the third goal, tears came to my eyes, because of the emotion of seeing someone so great achieve what they were missing and someone who had suffered so much to achieve it.”
In their official announcement of the nominees, Laureus wrote: “Lionel Messi collected the one prize that had eluded him by leading Argentina to the World Cup.
“Kylian Mbappé’s hat-trick in the final earned him the Golden Boot as the World Cup’s leading goalscorer.
“Rafael Nadal ended 2022 alone at the top of the all-time list of men’s Grand Slam champions with 22 titles after victory in Australia and France.
“Max Verstappen joins Messi and Nadal as past winners of this Award on the 2023 shortlist after defending his Formula One world title.
“Mondo Duplantis broke the pole vault world record on three occasions and won world titles indoors and out.
“Steph Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a fourth NBA championship in eight years.”
Tennis is well represented at the awards with Iga Swiatek among the nominees for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award and Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rybakina nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year Award.