Abu Dhabi (Agencies): It was one of the big days for tennis pro Rafael Nadal as he received the World Sportsman of the Year honour, while the World Cup winning Spanish football side walked away with the World Team of the Year trophy at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

The World Sportswoman of the Year award went to American alpine skiier Lindsey Vonn.

World number one Nadal, who finished a career slam last year by clinching the US Open, French Open and the Wimbledon to go with his 2009 Australian Open triumph, walked away with the top honours by pipping pre-awards favourites Messi and Iniesta. It was Nadal's second after the Laureus Breakthrough Award in 2006.

"Thank you very much for this," said the winning star who received the trophy from German tennis legend Boris Becker.

The World Cup winning Spanish football side clinched the Team of the Year honour that added to their happiness. The Spanish team, however, could not make it to the awards ceremony because of training engagements for an international match.

French football legend Zinedine Zidane was given the Lifetime Achievement award while American Kelly Slater was presented with the Laureus Action Sports Award for the third time.

Young golfer Martin Kaymer was presented with the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after winning the US PGA Championship. The European Ryder Cup team fetched the Spirit of the Sports award.

Former Ryder Cup captain Severiano Ballesteros, who has been fighting cancer, was paid special tribute during the occasion.

Visually impaired skier and biathlete Verena Bentele bagged the Laureus Disability Award after capturing five gold medals in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award went to Italy's seven-time motor cycle world champion Valentino Rossi, who returned to the track just 41 days after breaking his leg. However, Rossi was absent during the ceremony.

Australian five-time motor cycle 500cc world champion Mick Doohan and five-time Olympic rowing gold medallist Steve Redgrave were elected to the Laureus World Sports Academy, at the Awards Ceremony.