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Can You Guess What Messi Is Staring At In The Photo Of The Year?

This photo of Lionel Messi was voted given first prize at the 2015 World Press Photo Contest. But what is he staring at?

Year after year, thousands of photographers take thousands of photographs of hundreds of games. Many of these pictures are never used, fewer end up having any lasting appeal, but some, a select few, end up being photos that define the entire year in the beautiful game. The capacity of a single photo to condense a thousand moments of heartbreak and glory into a single image is one of the most romantic notions in sports, on or off the field, and photographers spend their entire careers chasing photos that capture such transcendent moments.  

Bao Tailiang of the Chengdu Economic Daily can rest easy tonight, because he has done just that: 

This image was given first prize in the Sports Singles category of the 2015 World Press Photo Contest. 

You cannot describe the perfect photo with words, so we will just try and fill in the back story for those who may not know. 

That’s Lionel Messi staring at the World Cup trophy. He is the best player in the world. He has won absolutely everything there is to win, except the trophy he is looking at in this picture. His own home country of Argentina refuses to acknowledge his greatness because he hasn’t won this trophy, because all of his success has come in Spain, thousands of miles away. The World Cup in Brazil this summer was his chance to not only go down in history as unquestionably the greatest player to ever live, but to be truly loved by his homeland. 

The moment captured in this picture is the closest he ever got. At least, to-date.

Hat’s off to you Mr. Tailiang, job well done.

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