Messi and Nadal Exchange Touching Messages
Lionel Messi and Rafael Nadal have been named on the six-person shortlist to be named Sportsman of the Year at the upcoming Laureus Sports Awards after their success in 2022. After the names for the awards were released, Nadal took to social media to encourage fans to vote for Messi.
Nadal, who is a Real Madrid fan, took to Instagram and wrote: “An honor to be nominated again to the Laureus Sportsman of the Year … but … this year … vamos @leomessi te lo mereces tu [Come on Lionel Messi you deserve it].”
The Spanish tennis professional has always been vocal about his admiration for Messi. During an interview, he expressed delight when Messi lifted the World Cup trophy and shared how moved he was when he witnessed the Argentine player's accomplishment.
Messi saw Nadal's Instagram post and sent a reply on Tuesday evening. The post read: "That an athlete as great as you put that on me leaves me speechless... Thank you very much @rafaelnadal, you also deserve everything for the way you compete every time you go out on the pitch. You are a winner, we still have a lot of competition there. Everyone deserves it @laureussport this year the truth!!!"
Messi and Nadal are among the favorites to win the award. Aside from these two, Formula One champion Max Verstappen, NBA superstar Steph Curry, Swedish pole vault star Mondo Duplantis and club team-mate Kylian Mbappe are among the nominees.
Rafael Nadal Achievements
This nomination is the seventh time that the player has been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award. Nadal previously won the award two times in 2011 and 2021.
The tennis player showed a superb performance in 2022. He won the Australian Open and the French Open to move on to a record-breaking haul of 22 Grand Slams. He also finished the season as world No. 2.
Nadal is currently recovering from an injury, and it is doubtful he will play at Indian Wells or the Miami Open next month.
Lionel Messi's Achievements
2022 was Messi's year. He had won the Golden Ball at the World Cup, awarded to the player of the tournament, having scored seven goals and picked up a further three assists.
Messi is now hoping to win a second-consecutive Ligue 1 title. So far, he has scored 16 goals and assisted in 14 more. On Sunday, Messi made a stunning 95th-minute free kick to secure a 4-3 victory over Lille.
When talking about Nadal's message, Messi mentioned that it leaves him ‘speechless.' Additionally, he expressed that ‘everyone deserves’ the Laureus award this year.
The Laureus World Sports Awards
The Laureus World Sports Awards is a yearly ceremony that honors individuals and teams from the world of sports, plus sporting achievements throughout the year.
Aside from the Sportsman of the Year award, there are seven other awards up for grabs at the 2023 Laureus World Sports Awards.