The photographer who took the record-breaking photo of Lionel Messi lifting the World Cup trophy says he’s not a fan of the crop.
Getty Images shooter Shaun Botterill took the photo that’s officially recorded as the most-liked Instagram post of all time with 71 million likes as of publication.
The British photographer tells CNN that he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time after the World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday evening.
“I almost got trapped, but just got trapped in the right place,” Botterill tells CNN. “I think if most of us [photographers] are honest, you always need a bit of luck and I had a bit on Sunday night.
“Messi was just there and he didn’t move that much, sometimes you get pushed around, and he just was doing all the bits, one-handed, two hands on the trophy.”
Botterill says that it’s impossible to plan for a trophy lift with so much chaos going on.
“It is quite a weird feeling, it’s a bit surreal, you go: ‘Holy s**t,’ he’s right there where you want him to be and that doesn’t happen often,” the photographer says.
“Even his hands coming up [with the trophy], I think the way he’s holding it and smiling, he’s definitely got a moment with the fans.”
Botterill says that he prefers the original horizontal crop and not the square one that Messi shared on his Instagram. He believes the wider view provides better context and better captures the adulation the soccer legend was receiving.
Botterill was immediately aware that he’d captured something special and after he took the shot he quickly grabbed a cable from one of the remote cameras behind the goal, plugged it into his camera, and sent the photo to his editors.
“I actually do remember thinking: ‘Blimey, how the hell have I ended up where I am?’” Botterill tells CNN. “Because in those situations, you’re governed by where the masses are pushing you.
“When I look back, you can’t believe that guy is in front of you on the shoulders of Sergio Aguero, holding up the World Cup, showing that to his fans.
“It’s got that impact, hasn’t it? It’s got the happy face, it’s got the joy, the trophy, and it kind of looks chaotic.”
Botterill doesn’t have any social media accounts and initially was unaware that his photo had smashed the all-time record for likes on Instagram.
Mark Zuckerberg reposted the photo, confirming that it had taken the record previously held by an egg.
“That’s the funny thing for me because I’m not on Instagram, I wouldn’t even know how to crop an Instagram picture,” Botterill says.
“For me it’s hilarious, the fact that you’ve got this 55-year-old bloke that’s not on Instagram.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed under Creative Commons via Tasnim News Agency.