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Lionel Messi: A Photographer's Favorite Shots

Photographer David Ramos relives a decade's worth of Messi magic.

Barcelona-based Getty Images staff photographer David Ramos has been covering Lionel Messi’s career for the last ten years. During that time, he has shot the Barcelona superstar in countless matches, witnessing multiple title wins — including Champions League, La Liga, and Copa Del Ray — and career milestones like receiving the FIFA Ballon d’Or an unprecedented five times. With each match comes another chance for Ramos to document the Argentinian star’s greatness from up close, bringing moments of mastery to the world through striking visuals. While both men gear up for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia, Ramos shares some of his favorite photos of the soccer icon from the past decade.

CENTER OF ATTENTION, 2018 David Ramos/Getty Images CENTER OF ATTENTION, 2018 "When a team plays against Barcelona, its primary concern is how to stop Lionel Messi. One common thing you notice when you're shooting his matches is that there are, understandably, always multiple opponents chasing him along the pitch. It makes for great pictures, and this one's my favorite of the bunch." LOOKING UP, 2011 David Ramos/Getty Images LOOKING UP, 2011 "Messi always finishes his celebrations by pointing towards the sky — dedicating the goal to his late grandmother who was a huge part of his life as a child. The touching gesture can make for special pictures."

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AERODYNAMIC, 2015 David Ramos/Getty Images AERODYNAMIC, 2015 "Out of all the action shots I've snapped of him over the years, this one stands out above the rest. In the blink of an eye he met a long through ball with an acrobatic overhead kick, and I was really happy to catch the moment." MESSI CONDITIONS, 2011 David Ramos/Getty Images MESSI CONDITIONS, 2011 "I love this candid portrait, taken during a 2011 La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Club of Bilbao. Messi, staring down the action in the heavy rain at the recently demolished San Mames stadium, known as The Cathedral." FAN FAVORITE, 2015 David Ramos/Getty Images FAN FAVORITE, 2015 "To Barcelona supporters, Messi is an icon. Take a look around Camp Nou (Barcelona’s stadium) on match day and it seems like everyone is wearing his shirt. I found this frame from the top of the stadium during a 2015 match with Rayo Vallecanoa. It's a perfect illustration of the atmosphere of true devotion among Barcelona fans." PHYSICAL PLAY, 2016 David Ramos/Getty Images PHYSICAL PLAY, 2016 "Sometimes the only way to try and stop Messi is by force, as was the case in this hard action shot of a collision with Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis in the 2016 Champions League quarter-finals." INSTANT CLASSIC, 2017 David Ramos/Getty Images INSTANT CLASSIC, 2017 "Every time Barcelona and Real Madrid play you know it's going to be thrilling. Among the many memories I have of this great rivalry, I love this remote capture of Messi's winning goal in the 92nd minute to beat their arch rivals in the Bernabeu (Real Madrid’s stadium)." ABOVE THE REST, 2014 David Ramos/Getty Images ABOVE THE REST, 2014 "In 2014, Leo broke Telmo Zarra's record to become the all-time leading scorer in La Liga history. Afterwards, his teammates tossed him into the air, forcing a huge smile across his face. Sometimes you get lucky that things like this happen right in front of your shooting position." BALLON D'OR, 2016 David Ramos/Getty Images BALLON D'OR, 2016 "When you cover a dominant club like Barcelona, you know there are going to be a lot of trophy photo ops. On this night, Messi was receiving his fifth career Ballon d'Or trophy, and I'm sure there is more hardware to come — maybe the World Cup trophy he's still chasing." TIGHT SQUEEZE, 2015 David Ramos/Getty Images TIGHT SQUEEZE, 2015 "Like any other great player, Messi is always bringing something new to the pitch. I love this frame because I still can't believe he found a gap to break away, with the ball, from three Manchester City players in the 2015 Champions League round of 16." MARKSMAN, 2018 David Ramos/Getty Images MARKSMAN, 2018 "Messi is a specialist in free kicks, and this one was extra special. This picture captures how little of a window he had, yet he still put it in, sealing a win over Atletico Madrid and virtually securing another La Liga championship for Barcelona." FAMILY AFFAIR, 2013 David Ramos/Getty Images FAMILY AFFAIR, 2013 "Messi may be a global superstar, but he's also a big family man. I really love this relaxed moment of him with his oldest son, Thiago, during the celebration of Barcelona's La Liga title in 2013." HEADING IN, 2017 David Ramos/Getty Images HEADING IN, 2017 "He's scored more than 550 goals in a Barcelona's jersey, 22 of them headers. This beauty, from a match with Real Sporting de Gijon, is one of my favorites." BROTHERS IN ARMS, 2018 David Ramos/Getty Images BROTHERS IN ARMS, 2018 "I love this moment and will cherish being able to capture it. Messi and Andres Iniesta played on Barcelona together for 14 years, giving fans and photographers so many special moments. Covering the two of them for a decade has been an unbelievable and unforgettable experience."

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