Chasing History - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominees

Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominees
‘Records fell like confetti’ – each of the Nominees for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award are in a race to be considered with the greatest of all time. 
The Nominees for this year’s Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award all share the same opponent: sporting history. Each not only took their talents to new heights in 2023 but rewrote the annals of their sport. 

Medals were won, Grand Slams and Championships claimed – and records fell like confetti. This group of six Nominees are among the most decorated and talented athletes in the world, and 2023 saw the fullest expression of their sporting genius.
Lionel Messi - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominee
That word – genius – has become synonymous with the name of our first Nominee, Lionel Messi, who accepted the same Award in Paris last year. The reigning Laureus World Sportsman of the Year found new ways to burnish his legend in 2023. Longevity must now be added to Messi’s many qualities as he delivered another unforgettable 12 months.

The Inter Miami CF player – who turned 36 in June – picked up his record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or in October, a recognition of his talismanic contribution to Argentina’s victory at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he scored seven goals and claimed three assists.

After winning his second Ligue 1 title with Paris St Germain in June, Messi moved to Inter Miami CF and picked up where he left off. August’s Leagues Cup victory over Nashville on penalties – in which he scored a superb goal from outside the box – was the 44th trophy of his career, making him the most decorated men’s footballer in the sport’s history.
Erling Haaland - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominee
Erling Haaland was just four years old when Messi made his debut for Barcelona in October 2004.

The Norwegian opened a new chapter in his own story when he moved to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund and immediately began destroying defences and plundering goals. His 52 strikes in season 2022-23 inspired City to a treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.

It is perhaps little wonder that Haaland’s astonishing debut season came under the tutelage of City head coach Pep Guardiola, the man whose coaching philosophies steered Messi on the road to greatness.
Novak Djokovic - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominee
Like Messi, Novak Djokovic is also a previous winner of this Award, having picked up the statuette on four occasions (2019, 2015, 2016 and 2012). And similar to Messi, the Serbian’s genius continues to defy the passage of time.

Djokovic – who is 28 days older than Messi – took his tally of major titles to 24 with victories at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows, matching Margaret Court’s all-time mark. It was only an epic performance by Carlos Alcaraz – winner of the Laureus Breakthrough of the Year Award last year – which denied Djokovic a Calendar Grand Slam. 
Mondo Duplantis - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominee
If Djokovic can stake a claim to be the greatest tennis player in history, then there is no question that Mondo Duplantis is the GOAT of his sport. 

The Swedish-American was born five years after Laureus Academy Member Sergey Bubka set the world outdoor record in the pole vault for the final time in his career in 1994.

Duplantis broke Bubka’s world record for the first time in 2020 and in 2023 raised his own mark on two further occasions, either side of claiming gold at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. 

Noah Lyles - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominee
It was at those championships in Hungary that Noah Lyles claimed his place in athletics history with a gold-medal treble.

His expected victory over 200 metres made him only the second man to win three or more successive world 200 metre golds, after Usain Bolt. The following day he ran the anchor leg to power USA to 4x100 metres gold, but it was his 100 metres title which established him as the best sprinter of his generation. Lyles barely qualified for the 100 metres after he was struck down with Covid in the lead-up to the US nationals, but he stormed to gold in Budapest in a time of 9.83 seconds.     
Max Verstappen - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Nominee
Max Verstappen – a previous winner of this Award in 2022 – continued to steer his way into history by becoming the fifth Formula One driver to record a hat-trick of Championship wins.

He also set records with 10 consecutive Grand Prix wins and 19 victories (from 22 Grand Prix) in one season, plus the highest percentage of wins in a season, 86.3%. His third-consecutive Drivers’ Championship was sealed with five races to spare, while Verstappen’s Oracle Red Bull Racing team picked up their sixth Constructors’ Championship.  

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