Having heightened his status as one of the world's most successful motorcycle riders last year with a ninth grand prix world title, Valentino Rossi's now has the chance to be appreciated as one of the world's greatest sportsman after earning a coveted Laureus World Sports Awards nomination.

The annual Laureus World Sports Awards are considered to be one of the premier honours of sporting achievement, with a jury of 46 sportsmen and sportswomen recognising outstanding achievement in various disciplines.

Rossi's ninth world title has duly been rewarded with a nomination for the highly sought after Sportsman of the Year award.

However, the FIAT Yamaha rider faces stiff opposition for the title, most notably all-conquering Jamaican athlete and 2009 Laureus winner Usain Bolt, who won three gold medals at the Athletics World Championships last year, while four-time Laureus winner Roger Federer is hotly tipped after breaking Pete Sampras's record for the most tennis Grand Slam singles titles won.

Additionally, Kenenisa Bekele is up for the gong for triumphing in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metre events of the Athletics World Championships, as is cyclist Alberto Contador for winning a second Tour de France title in three years and, finally, FIFA World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi.

The results will be announced in a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on March 10th.

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