Messi, Nadal nominated for Laureus awards

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ABU DHABI, January 11- Footballer Lionel Messi and tennis aces Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will lead the nominees for the Laureus World Sports Awards to be held next month in Abu Dhabi, it was announced Tuesday.The Argentine who was named on Monday the World player of the year is nominated along with his Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta for the awards which are considered the sport version of The Oscars, organisers revealed in a press conference.

The event is being organised in Abu Dhabi for the second year in a row.

"We are pleased to host this event for the second year consecutively," said Mohammad al-Mahmood, secretary general of Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

Dozens of sports and Hollywood celebrities will travel to the capital of the United Arab Emirates on February 5 to 7 to attend the event held at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

Other nominees include Germany’s Sebastian Vettel, the youngest winner of the Formula One World Championship, Winter Paralympic stars Verena Bentele, Jakub Krako and Lauren Woolstencroft for Laureus Disability Award.

Ten-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater is nominated for Laureus Action Sports Award.

"Every year in which there is an Olympic Games or World Cup, we have some of the strongest fields of candidates," Edwin Moses, the chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, told AFP.

The Spain team which won the football world cup in South Africa will compete for the Laureus World Team of the Year category, along with the 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.

Last year’s winners of the 2010 Laureus Sportsman and Sportswomen of the Year awards included Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt for the second time, US tennis champion Serena Williams, and British Formula One driver Jenson Button.

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