Lionel is 'Richie' at Laureus | sports | Hindustan Times
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Lionel is 'Richie' at Laureus

The uncertainty surrounding Argentina footballer Lionel Messi whether he would be there for the Laureus Awards ceremony was dispelled when someone announced that he would be reaching Abu Dhabi on Monday just in time for the ceremony.

sports Updated: Feb 07, 2011 01:14 IST
Indraneel Das

The uncertainty surrounding Argentina footballer Lionel Messi whether he would be there for the Laureus Awards ceremony was dispelled when someone announced that he would be reaching Abu Dhabi on Monday just in time for the ceremony.

Not that Messi has already won the coveted world sportsperson of the year award, but the fact is that he is such a popular figure here that everyone wants him to get the award.

Though the field has the likes of world No. 1 tennis players Rafael Nadal, Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta, Los Angeles basketball player Kobe Bryant, boxer Manny Pacquiao and 2010 F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, everyone's heart is beating for Messi.

With the theme of this year's award being combating social ills through football, it would be apt that a footballer gets the award. A 30-minute football match between legendary England player Bobby Charlton and Bora Militinovic's boys would be played before the ceremony. And guess which Indian will figure in Charlton's team alongside the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Dwight York? Bhaichung Bhutia -- the only Indian sportsperson who is here for the function.