Lionel Messi was crowned Sportsman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards, adding yet another trophy to his impressive collection. The ceremony was held in Paris just hours after it was confirmed that Messi had returned to PSG following a suspension. Despite apologising for an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, his future at the club remains uncertain.
In his acceptance speech, Messi thanked his teammates from both the national team and PSG, acknowledging that he could not have achieved anything alone. He also expressed his gratitude towards the Laureus Academy, saying that being in the company of previous winners such as Schumacher, Woods, Nadal, Federer, Bolt, Hamilton, and Djokovic made him realise what a unique honour the award was.
PSG confirmed Messi’s return on their official Twitter account, sharing a photograph of him in training kit. The 35-year-old had been pictured in Riyadh the day after PSG suffered a surprise defeat to Lorient, which led to his suspension. However, Messi explained that he had to make the trip for contractual reasons and had assumed he had a day off.
Although Messi’s return to Barcelona has been rumoured, the club’s financial difficulties make it unlikely. Reports have suggested that the Argentine maestro could earn up to £320million a year if he moves to Saudi Arabia’s Pro League. Meanwhile, former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele disagreed with PSG’s decision to suspend Messi and expressed his hope that the club would keep him, saying that losing such players who give pleasure is a shame.