The 20th general assembly of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies, or AMAN, awarded here Tuesday the prize for the best picture of the year to Efe photojournalist Gustavo Cuevas for a photo of bullfighter Julio Aparicio, taken as he was being gored in 2010.

"It's a tragic photo, but the matador recovered from his injuries and has returned to the bullring, and I know he's happy to be able to tell the tale," the photographer Cuevas, who works out of the Madrid headquarters of Spain's international news agency, said in his acceptance speech.

The picture that won him the prize shows the precise moment when the point of the bull's horn projects from the bullfighter's mouth after piercing through his neck.

"The photograph brings together the graphic elements of composition, movement, color, body positions - both of the bull and the bullfighter - and adds an intrinsic quality that transcends the shot itself and makes the photo into an icon," the photojournalist said.

Cuevas, a 13-year Efe veteran, said that "to achieve a shot like this you need tremendous concentration for the two hours that an afternoon of bullfights usually lasts, because at any moment an incident like this can occur."

AMAN, created in Tunisia in 1991 and comprising more than a score of agencies, is bent on strengthening communications among its members of the Mediterranean area, a region with historical, cultural and economic bonds.