Lewis Hamilton poses with the award he shares with Lionel Messi ©Getty Images

The Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award has been shared for the first time, with Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi the recipients, while Simone Biles has won the women's award for the third time in four years.

Biles, the 22-year-old American gymnast many already view as the greatest of all time, won five gold medals at the 2019 World Championships.

She has 25 World medals in total now, the most in history, and only Serena Williams has won this award more times than Biles.

Messi won the Ballon d'Or for a record sixth time in 2019 and the Argentina and Barcelona star is the first athlete from team sport to win the award.

Six was also a significant number for Hamilton in 2019 as he won his sixth Formula One title.

That takes the Briton just one behind Michael Schumacher on the all-time list.

Schumacher has twice been named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, with the awards this year celebrating a 20th anniversary and held in the  German capital Berlin.

Simone Biles won five gold medals at the World Championships in 2019 ©Getty Images
Simone Biles won five gold medals at the World Championships in 2019 ©Getty Images

South Africa's men's rugby union side won the team award following the Springboks' World Cup triumph.

The Spanish Basketball Federation was also recognised with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement award, which comes hot on the heels of the Spanish men's basketball team being crowned world champions.

American snowboarder Chloe Kim was the action sportsperson of the year for the second year running, while German basketball great Dirk Nowitzki received a lifetime achievement award. 

Colombian Tour de France champion Egan Bernal was voted to have made the breakthrough of the year, winning the race aged 22.

Oksana Masters, who won five gold medals and a silver at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships, was winner of the Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award - another triumph for the United States.

There was also an award for the best sporting moment of the last 20 years decided by a public vote.

India fans got behind one of their heroes and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar leading India to a first World Cup win on home soil was deemed the winner.

German Sophia Flörsch, 18, won the comeback award for her return to motorsport.