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Laureus World Sports Awards: Jude Bellingham makes shortlist as Lionel Messi and Simone Biles recognised

Jude Bellingham has made a stunning start to life at Real Madrid (AFP via Getty Images)
Jude Bellingham has made a stunning start to life at Real Madrid (AFP via Getty Images)

Jude Bellingham, Erling Haaland, Simone Biles and Lionel Messi are among the leading names nominated for this year’s Laureus World Sports Awards.

Manchester City striker Haaland and Argentina captain Messi head a six-strong shortlist for the World Sportsman of the Year prize, with Novak Djokovic, Max Verstappen and athletics world champions Mondo Duplantis and Noah Lyles also in contention.

Track and field stars also dominate the Sportswoman of the Year category, with sprinters Shericka Jackson and Sha’Carri Richardson joined by middle-distance great Faith Kipyegon in making up half of the shortlist. Aitana Bonmati, Spain’s midfield fulcrum en route to World Cup glory, tennis world No1 Iga Swiatek and alpine skier Mikaela Shriffin also make the list.

Bellingham’s reward for a sensational start to his Real Madrid career is a place among the contenders for the Breakthrough of the Year, where Great Britain’s 1500m world champion Josh Kerr is also recognised.

“Winning the gold medal in Budapest was a huge moment for me and it felt like the end of a long, hard road,” said Kerr, who has already set an indoor world record over two miles at the start of this year and is among the favourites for Olympic gold in Paris this summer.

“But it’s also been the start of a new journey, and I’m thrilled that it now includes Laureus. It’s a real honour to be nominated for the Breakthrough of the Year Award alongside these other incredible athletes from across sport.”

Josh Kerr is eyeing Olympic gold in Paris (Getty Images for World Athletics)
Josh Kerr is eyeing Olympic gold in Paris (Getty Images for World Athletics)

Kerr’s British team-mate Katarina Johnson-Thompson is nominated for Comeback of the Year after bouncing back from a series of major injuries to claim her second heptathlon world title, with Biles and Ivory Coast striker Sebastian Haller also recognised in the same category.

“The journey to get back to being amongst the world’s best after rupturing my achillies as well as the other injuries and surgeries I’ve had over the past couple years was hard, really really hard,” said Johnson-Thompson.

"I questioned myself, I felt like quitting, I didn’t know what was possible but I had an amazing team around me who kept me going.”

Gymnast Biles returned to action after a series of mental health issues to claim four gold medals at last year’s World Championships, while Haller fired his country to Africa Cup of Nations glory on home soil having overcome a battle with cancer.

As well as individual recognition for Haaland, who scored a Premier League record 36 goals last season, Manchester City have been nominated for World Team of the Year following their treble-winning campaign. Europe’s Ryder Cup victors are in contention for the same prize, as are Spain’s Women’s World Cup winners and South Africa’s men in the rugby equivalent.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Madrid in April. The full list of nominees is available here.