Laureus Awards, With Messi As a Candidate

BERLIN, Germany.- These are world awards. There will be red carpet and there will be gala ceremony. Sharon Stone and Hugh Grant will drive. But this is not Hollywood, but Berlin, and these “Oscars” are from another Academy: the Laureus Academy, which every year awards the best athletes on the planet. Never an Argentine won one, and that was already delivered 20 times. Will it be today? For now, there is a candidate: the quickie who makes goals and assists in the team and in Barcelona, ​​Lionel Messi. It is not known for sure if the captain will come to the German capital, and in fact 2019 (the period considered this time) was not of his best years, beyond the Golden Ball that France Football granted him. It was the span of third place in the Copa América in Brazil with a revived Leo, that of the Spanish league won and not much else. And important opponents are left over for this Monday … There’s Rafael Nadal. There is Lewis Hamilton. There is Tiger Woods. Monsters all. Less known, but no less monster, Marc Márquez, the Spaniard who does not stop stacking Moto GP championships. And also Eliud Kipchoge, the great Kenyan marathoner who, a world marathon record, became even more famous for having become the first man to run in less than two hours the 42,195 kilometers, although with a thousand aids, and therefore, without record The party will be held at Verti Music Hall, a theater in East Berlin that is about 100 meters from the Esprea River (“Spree”). An iconic place, not so much for the entertainment center nor for the immense, impressive Mercedes-Benz Arena that is another 100 meters further north, but for something ugly that accompanies the river parallel: the wall. Part of what is left of him, in fact, because 30 years ago a great majority of that Cold War symbol disappeared, that curtain between the capitalist and democratic west and the socialist east and ruled by a single political party. , the Berlin Wall is still there, always kept alive by tourists, who appreciate it as if it were an outdoor art gallery, photograph it, use it in the background for their social media images. It is graffiti, like a large part of this city that seems to have yielded in its Northern European winter to accompany the Laureus festival, that this German night (the Argentine evening) will gather numerous figures of international sport.In two hours of ceremony, crossed in sometime for the music of Liam Payne (former One Direction singer and star of the Factor X series), the “Oscar of the sport” will be delivered, eight days after the authentic ones, those of the cinema. This time, with a halo of solidarity: the awards are a stained glass window for the Laureus Foundation, dedicated to doing good among the disadvantaged in the world through sport. Twenty years are the awards, the first to apply for athletes of the same statuette Different disciplines The caliber of the nominees is the maximum also in other items. For example, among the women are Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, and Liverpool, Springboks, Mercedes, Toronto Raptors, the Spanish men’s basketball team and the American women’s football team are the candidates as teams. And so, with other stars in other fields: Kawhi Leonard, Andy Murray (return of the year), Coco Gauff (surprise) … First world level. In the two decades of the Laureus, and despite having between eight and twelve items distinguished, never an Argentine was awarded. Indeed, Messi, a thousand prize collector, does not yet have this one. It does not seem the best time to award it, but something gives it a chance: a soccer player never imposed himself as an individual male athlete. It will ever happen. For now, the discreet-discreet for him from Rosario reached 2019 to be chosen by journalists from the planet among the six candidates in his category. Then, it is the decision of 69 members of the Laureus Academy (former world stars), which yesterday incorporated the formidable former South African rugby Bryan Habana, a well-known Argentinean and hitherto ambassador of the NGO. Read moreThe Laureus were born from the will of recognize the best in sport with a worldwide distinction that until 2000 did not exist. When Nelson Mandela, guest, pronounced a sentence that year, he changed the perspective. “Sport has the power to change the world, to bring people together as few things do.” The words of the then former president of South Africa would lead to the creation of the Laureus Foundation, which is dedicated to improving, through sports with the members of the Academy and their ambassadors, the lives of the marginalized (refugees, disabled, poor) , with actions that promote values ​​and education. The entity notes that so far it has had an impact on some 6,000,000 children thanks to a fundraiser of about 150,000,000 euros in these two decades, through specific programs that today are about 200 and are distributed in more than 40 countries. In seven of them there are subsidiary foundations, and one is Argentina, where the visible face is its president, Hugo Porta, a member of the Academy, as well as Luciana Aymar. With the former rugbier as an engine, Laureus Argentina is proud to have worked in these years for 16,000 beneficiaries of 19 institutions and projects in 12 cities and with a total of $ 1,010,000 placed at the service of the postponed. initiative of two great sponsors, the creators of the Laureus: Daimler, the company of Mercedes-Benz, and Richemont, the same of the Swiss watchmaker IWC. They are the ones who raise funds and mainly direct charitable actions. Paradox of time: the speech of a Mandela who in a large part of his political career raised the flags of Marxism found an echo in one of the icons of capitalism, the mark of luxury cars and the three-pointed star in a circle. And their Mercedes-Benz Arena is on the eastern side of the wall, which corresponded to socialism … Unlike the Olympians, the Laureus do not include a gold prize. If those, the Argentine awards, are already controversial in the lists of the same sport and taking only the national level, these could well be, which compare different disciplines and in the international field. But there is no controversy here, at least visible: there can be no when the idea is so close that the sport must be a vehicle to improve the lives of those who suffer, a mace that breaks down walls. Like the one here offers only traces that serve as a souvenir in this unified Berlin today.