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Bonmatti and Djokovic were named “World Athletes of the Year”.

Bonmatti and Djokovic were named “World Athletes of the Year”.

Spanish female footballers won the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid on Monday. The world champions were named Team of the Year, while FC Barcelona's Aitana Bonmatti was honored as Female Athlete of the Year. Tennis player Novak Djokovic received the award for men.

“Our national team is an unparalleled group,” Bonmati explained. “Our strength comes from all the challenges we face, both on and off the field.” “I think we've mastered them all,” the 26-year-old said. The Spaniards became world champions in Australia and New Zealand – their title win overshadowed by a kissing scandal involving then-Spanish Federation president Luis Rubiales.

The first women's team as winners

Bonmati is the first female footballer to win this prestigious award. The Spaniards are also the first women's team to win the title. “As the first women’s team to win a Laureus Award, we are proud of our position as pioneers, and as a group we are as committed to equality and representation as we are to what we do on the football field,” Bonmatti said. He was honored by former speed racing star Usain Bolt. The Austrian-British Formula 1 team Oracle Red Bull Racing and the European Ryder Cup team with Vienna Sepp Straka were also nominated.

Novak Djokovic with his wife Jelena

© Imago / José Britton

At the 25th World Sports Awards, Djokovic won the Athlete of the Year title for the fifth time. “The Laureus Awards are very special because they are a tribute to the 69 world-class athletes who make up the Laureus World Sports Academy. Having the votes of my sporting heroes makes these awards very coveted throughout sport,” said the Serbian.

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Also bow to the jury

Other Laureus Awards recipients were footballer Jude Bellingham from Real Madrid, gymnastics star Simone Biles from the USA, skier Arisa True from Australia, and Dutch wheelchair tennis player Dede De Groot. The awards were presented by a jury of 69 athletes from the Laureus Academy, including Austria's Franz Klemm.