Lionel Messi has been announced as the winner of the BBC’s World Sport Star of the Year, after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.
Messi receives the prize as part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards, with the 35-year-old’s latest honour confirmed a day after Argentina’s triumph.
Argentina secured their first World Cup in 36 years by beating France 4-2 on penalties, following a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Lusail Stadium.
The triumph saw Messi emulate fellow Argentine legend Diego Maradona in inspiring their respective sides to become world champions.
The BBC said the World Sport Star of the Year is awarded to an athlete who has ‘achieved the most notable sporting success on the world stage during the course of the year’.
Messi has won the award for the first time in his legendary career, which has already seen the Argentine win seven Ballon d’Or titles and score 793 goals. He becomes just the fifth footballer to receive the award, which was introduced in 1960 under its previous name of Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.
Portuguese great Eusebio and Brazil’s three-time World Cup winner Pele are among the recipients, winning in 1966 and 1970 respectively.
Ronaldo Delima was named as the winner in 2002 after leading Brazil to World Cup glory, while Cristiano Ronaldo was honoured in 2014. Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore received the award in 2021.