The Laureus World Sports Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognizes the achievements of individuals and teams from the world of sports. The ceremony, which was first held in 2000, is organized by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a global charity that aims to use sports as a means of promoting social change and empowering young people.
This year's ceremony, which took place in Paris on Monday, May 8th, saw Argentine footballer and PSG forward Lionel Messi win the 2023 Sportsman of the Year award.
Messi, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, finally realized his dream of winning the World Cup in Qatar last year. He also accepted the Team of the Year award on behalf of Argentina, who beat France on penalties in a thrilling WC final, even considered the best of all time by many people.
Speaking at the ceremony, Messi thanked his club, Paris Saint-Germain, as well as his international teammates. He 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 teammates, 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."
Remove the flowers given yesterday, and Messi's PSG future is in huge peril and quite uncertain. The 35-year-old has apologized for an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia, which resulted in him being suspended by the club.
Messi's contract expires this summer, and while his two-year deal included the option of a third year, the expectation is that he will depart the club with both parties ready to sever ties.
Former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele spoke at the event before the awards ceremony and said that he disagreed with PSG's decision to suspend Messi and hoped the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner would stay. "It's his choice. He has done so much, he also has the right to have fun. I hope that Paris will keep him. It's a shame to lose this kind of players--we need them."
The ceremony also saw the presentation of awards for Breakthrough of the Year, Action Sportsperson of the Year, and Sportsperson of the Year
with a Disability, among others, and you can check all of the nominees and winners over the official website of the Laureus World Sports Awards over here.