FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, and Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton shared the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award on Monday night.
The superstar footballer and Formula one driver pipped Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal, Marc Marquez and Eliud Kipchoge for the honour. The pair were tied for first place in the voting by former sports greats who make up the members of the Laureus Academy.
Hamilton, who was given the award by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, said: ‘It’s all of our responsibility to use our platform for really pushing for gender equality, inclusivity and making sure that we are engaging and trying to represent where the world is today.’
Messi who was not at the event said: ‘I apologise I was not able to come to the event tonight. I really wanted to be there but unfortunately, I could not make it.
‘I would like to thank the Academy for giving me this recognition.
‘The truth is that this is a very special award and I am honoured to be the first to win this from a team sport. Thank you very much.’
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 17, 2020