Messi competes with Nadal, Vettel for Laureus awards

Abu Dhabi: Ballon d`Or Lionel Messi will be
competing with the likes of tennis star Rafael Nadal and
Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel for the 2011 Laureus World
Sportsman of the year award to be presented next month.

Argentine footballer Messi, who was last night bestowed
with the FIFA`s Ballon d`Or award for the second time in his
career as the world`s best player of 2010, will also have to
fight it out with his Barcelona teammate Spain`s Andres
Iniesta, legendary Basketball player USA`s Kobe Bryant and
Philippines` boxer Manny Pacquiao for the prestigious award.

The Laureus awards, which recognise sporting achievement
during the calendar year 2010, are considered the sport
version of `The Oscars` and will be unveiled during a
televised Awards Ceremony in Abu Dhabi on February 7.

World number one tennis player Nadal, who had clinched
the Newcomer Award in 2006, would be hoping to win his second
Laureus award.

The Spanish sensation became the first man since 1969 to
win the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year.

The eventual winners will be chosen from the list of
nominees by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate
sports jury made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and
sportswomen of all time, the organisers said in a release.

Three-time Laureus winner Serena Williams is nominated
once again for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award
as she had won won two Grand Slam titles in 2010. Also
shortlisted are two other tennis players, Belgium`s Kim
Clijsters and Denmark`s world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki,
American ski star Lindsey Vonn and athletes Jessica Ennis of
Britain and Croatian high jump sensation Blanka Vlasic.

The Laureus World Team of the Year category looks to be
one of the most competitive ever. It includes the Spain World
Cup team, European Ryder Cup Team, Champions League winners
Inter Milan, NBA winners Los Angeles Lakers, the Red Bull
Formula One Team and the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team.

Several of sport`s biggest names -- Belgian tennis star
Justine Henin, Swedish golden girl Carolina Kluft and Italian
motor cycle racer Valentino Rossi -- have been nominated for
the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award.

Also nominated in this category are American golfer Paula
Creamer, track star Tyson Gay and former Jamaican athlete
Merlene Ottey, who now runs for Slovenia.

"This has been a great year for sport and the Academy are
going to find it extremely difficult to decide who to vote for
as winners. We have had several massive events in 2010 --
notably the FIFA World Cup and the Winter Olympics and
Paralympics, and that has been reflected in the nominations,"
said Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses.

"There has been a host of amazing individual and team
performances and I congratulate all the nominees and now we
look forward to what should be a great awards ceremony next
month in Abu Dhabi," said Moses.



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