Both Nadal and Messi had a great performances in 2022 in their respective sports. While Nadal topped the list of all-time Grand Slam titles in 2022 with 22 trophies. It was a beautiful year for Messi as his leadership and performances helped Argentina win the FIFA World Cup 2022 title in Qatar along with the Golden Ball. Nadal wrote in a story on Instagram on that. He said that he was "honored" to be nominated for the award and felt Messi "deserves" it. Nadal himself has called Messi deserving of the title despite being nominated.
"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]. He is a top player in history and he played almost his entire career in my country," the athlete had said, adding. I still think that Argentina is a candidate to win the World Cup."The former World No. 1 declared on his Instagram story.
"Messi lifting the World Cup made me happy. That someone so great culminates with a title that was missing, of this caliber, with all that it means for Argentina."
Apart from Rafael Nadal and Lionel Messi, some other players have also been nominated for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award 2023. They are Kylian Mbappé, Max Verstappen (motor racing), Armand Duplantis (athletics), and Steve Kerr (basketball). The nominees for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award 2023 were among the best in 2022.
This is Rafael Nadal's ninth nomination at the Laureus Sportsman of the Year award, while it is Lionel Messi's eighth. Both the tplayers have now received the nomination for Sportsman of the Year seven times. Argentine jointly won the award alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2020, and Rafael Nadal earned the accolades in 2011 and 2021. Additionally, the duo have been nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year in 2006, where the Spaniard clinched the trophy. The tennis legend also received the award in the Comeback of the Year category in 2014.