Photographer reveals 'luck' behind Messi World Cup image that set Instagram record

Getty Images photojournalist captured Argentina captain cradling the golden trophy in moment that has since gone viral

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Lionel Messi’s crowning moment has become the most-liked post on Instagram.

In it, the Argentina superstar sits on the shoulders of former teammate Sergio Aguero and has both hands clasped on the World Cup trophy in celebration, having beaten France on penalties in the final.

Although not credited in the post, it was taken by Getty Images photographer Shaun Botterill, who told CNN how he captured it.

“I almost got trapped, but just got trapped in the right place,” Botterill said. “I think if most of us [photographers] are honest, you always need a bit of luck and I had a bit on Sunday night."

He went on to explain how difficult it can be to capture the right moment but was happy with his results.

“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," he said.

“We had no idea what was going to happen at the end. You can plan for the trophy lift, but you can’t plan for the run around and you don’t know how chaotic it’s going to be. I was pretty close to him, I’m probably like two meters away maximum.

“It is quite a weird feeling, it’s a bit surreal ... He’s right there where you want him to be and that doesn’t happen often. 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.”

Setting a new Instagram record

Messi's post has more than 72 million likes and is rising, surpassing the previous record-breaking post of an egg, which currently has more than 58m likes, by advertising executive Chris Godfrey.

The image was uploaded in January 2019 with the caption: “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this.”

It was in response to Jenner’s 2018 photo announcing the birth of her daughter Stormi.

Messi’s caption to his record-breaking post translates to: “CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!!!! I dreamed about it so many times, I wanted it so much that I still haven’t fallen, I can’t believe it.

“Thank you very much to my family, to all those who support me and also to all who believed in us. We demonstrated once again that Argentines, when we fight together and are united, we are capable of achieving what we set out to do.

“The merit belongs to this group, which is above individualities, it is the strength of all fighting for the same dream that was also the dream of all Argentines … We did it!

“Go Argentina! We will see each other very soon.”

At the start of the tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first person to gain more than 500 million followers on Instagram after posting a Louis Vuitton ad advert featuring himself and Messi playing chess.

Updated: December 23, 2022, 12:29 PM