Since its inaugural edition in 2000, 19 Laureus World Sportsman Awards winner trophies have been handed out.
Roger Federer (5), Novak Djokovic (3) and Rafael Nadal (1) have helped tennis top the sports list, Michael Schumacher (2) and Sebastian Vettel (1) were honoured from Formula One, Tiger Woods scooped two in golf and Usain Bolt has won four on his own for athletics. Lance Armstrong, whose 2003 gong was rescinded, made up the complete set if you were wondering.
What’s stark is that no footballers have lay claim to the top prize. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been nominated five times each with Andres Iniesta, Fabio Cannavaro, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Brazilian Ronaldo making single entries. Anyone of those would have been a worthy winner but have been overlooked.
According to the awards brief, the Laureus Nominations Panel comprising of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters preside over the nominees and winners for various categories every year. Ronaldo was again a nominee in Monte Carlo on Tuesday night. But again, football missed out.
Looking at the history of men’s winners, the tendency is that individuals playing in team sports are overlooked in favour of individual sports, but you don’t really get much bigger than Messi and Ronaldo – and their great influences and consistency individually.