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Footballers and their "tattoos".. OMG, it must have hurt!!

Ambuj Gupta
Editor's Pick
8.81K   //    21 Mar 2011, 15:28 IST

“There are as many reasons for getting a tattoo as there are people who have them”.

Yesterday, while on twitter, I got an interesting tweet from a Scouser: “I’m getting “You’ll never walk alone” tattooed next year. Not something that is going to be out in public, but a personal message that will give me strength each time I see it.” The tweet made me ponder deeply about the growing trend of tattoos and lo, here I am with a list of famous players with their even more famous tattoos.

PS: It isn’t a list of “best” tattoos or something. It’s just a list of players whom I remember having crazy tattoos all over their body. :P

1.Diego Maradona:

El Diego!!

Starting with El Diego, one of the greatest players ever to grace the world of football, Maradona has 5 tattoos on his body; each one a symbol for something that has affected his life.

He has the tattoos of both his daughters name, from his wife Claudia Villafane, Gianinna and Dalma on either forearm. Gianinna is now engaged to Argentina striker Sergio Aguero.
His next tattoo has an interesting story too. While undergoing a treatment for his drug addiction in Cuba, he became friends with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Maradona was deeply impressed by the leader’s views and decided to get a tattoo of Castro on his left leg.

“Meeting him [Castro] was like touching the sky with my hands. What he has done for me is indescribable. Along with God, he is the reason I am alive.”

Maradona also has a tattoo of the famous Argentine Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, on his upper right arm.

“I carry him on my arm and in my heart. I learned his story, I learned to love him. I think I know the truth about him.”


Diego also has a dragon tattooed on his left arm (the only tattoo for no apparent reason).

2. David Beckham:

For Beckham, it all began in 1999 when his first son Brooklyn was born and Beckham got his son’s name inked in Gothic script across his lower back.

“The idea to get tattooed came to me a little while after Brooklyn was born. I was talking to Mel B and her then-husband, Jimmy Gulzar, and the subject of tattoos came up. I ended up going to this Dutch guy who’d done all of Jimmy’s. I’d finally realized what I wanted a tattoo to represent. Mine are all about the people in my life, my wife and sons, who I want with me always. When you see me, you see the tattoos. You see an expression of how I feel about Victoria and the boys. They’re part of me.”

A guardian angel, a human figure with arms outstretched, followed Brooklyn in the same year, though a little further up on his back. In 2000, Beckham got the name of his wife, Victoria tattooed in Hindi on his left arm. Under Victoria’s name is now the Latin phrase “Ut Amem Et Foveam” which translates to “so that I love and cherish.”

Inked front! :p

In April 2002 came the Roman numeral VII on right forearm (for those who have just returned from an exile, 7 was his jersey number for Manchester United and England). Cometh 2003 and two new tattoos found their way on both his arms. Latin phrase “Perfectio In Spiritu” (meaning Spiritual Perfection) on his right arm and “Ut Amem Et Foveam” (meaning So That I Love And Cherish), on his left.

Making sure that his second son doesn’t feel left out, Beckham next got a tattoo “Romeo” on his back. Next was a classical art design on his right shoulder. 2004 saw Becks get a large winged cross on the back of his neck, along with an Angel on his right arm with the motto “In the Face of Adversity”.

Son number three saw Beckham visit the tattoo parlor again and he got Cruz’s name inked at the bottom of his neck. In 2006 David and Victoria had matching wrist tattoos of the Roman numerals VIII.V.  MMVI, which stand for the date of their secret commitment ceremony on May 8, 2006. To mark his family’s move to America after signing for LA Galaxy, David treated himself to another angel tattoo along with a Templar Knight. The design includes the Latin motto “Let them hate as long as they fear.”

The famous “misspelled” tattoo

The year 2008 was a busy one for Beckham in terms of body art. In March of that year he showed off a large Chinese motif running down his left rib-cage. The text translates as: “Death and life have determined appointments. Riches and honour depend upon heaven.” Beckham’s left arm became even more crowded towards the end of that year with a line of Hebrew text that reads: “My son, do not forget my teaching but keep my commands in your heart.” The tattoo is a partner piece to another Hebrew saying that David has scrawled on his arm that reads: “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.”

To mark his 10th wedding anniversary, David last year had a ring of 10 roses inked on his upper left arm. His latest piece of ink is a tattoo of Jesus being lifted by three cherubs, of whom David says symbolise himself and his three sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz.

3.Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

Ibra has eleven tattoos drawn all over his physique. His earliest tattoo was the famous “Ibrahimovic Code” on his wrist, which symbolizes the birth dates of his parents and three siblings. Later, his sons’ birthdays were also added to the “Ibrahimovic Code”. The family name Ibrahimovic is written in Arabic on the back of his right arm. A red dragon on his back is understood to be a metaphor for his personality. When his son Maximilian was born he had his name written on his right arm. His second son Vincent‘s name was later added to Maximilian’s. The tribal drawing supposedly symbolizes the family’s good fortune. His mother’s name, Jurka and father’s name Sefik are tattooed on his left and right arm respectively. The words “Only God Can Judge Me” on his belly supposedly show both his religious and rebellious nature. His latest tattoo is a drawing of two poker cards, the aces of hearts and clover placed near the dragon symbol as a good luck charm.

4.Daniel Agger:

Daniel Agger has numerous tattoos including a Viking on his upper right arm, a large drawing of vikings and a graveyard that spans his whole back, including the year of his birth (1984) and the latin saying “Mors certa, hora incerta” (“Death is certain, its time is uncertain”),and inscriptions on his ankles along the lines of  ‘Pain is temporary, victory is forever’. He also features an intricate band around his left elbow. The size of the tattoo on his back made me add him to this list. It must have been pure Agger-ny for the Liverpool defender!!

5. Wayne Rooney:

The England Number 9 has a cross tattoo on his upper right arm and a Coleen (wife’s name) tattoo on his left. His left arm also hosts a tattoo of St George’s flag and the phrase ‘English and Proud’. Also inked is the title of an album by his favorite band Stereophonics, “Just Enough Educated To Perform” on the inside of his right forearm. Few reasoned that it was because the band played on his wedding while others claimed that it could be a reference to his own educational achievements. Rooney left school without a GCSE to his name. While his fellow pupils were studying for their exams, the young Rooney was allowed three days off per week to train with Everton. He also has son Kai’s name tattooed on his back. The striker chose England’s win against Mexico to remove his shirt and unveil his back which revealed his son’s name underneath an eagle motif inked between his shoulder blades.

6. Sergio Ramos:

The Spanish defender right back is known as “lunatic” amongst his team mates for his craze about tattoos. The player has as many as 11 tattoos all over his body.

On his right wrist is a band that has sentimental meaning to Sergio and his brother, Rene, who also has the same . He also has “I will never forget you” written in Elvish.

Just above it, another tattoo: “JM VII P”. “JM” and “P” stands for his parents’ initials, and “VII” or Roman numeral seven, is his lucky number.

On his left middle finger are the initials of Sergio, his brother, Rene, and his sister’s names, Miriam: “MSR.” Behind his left ear is the Chinese character, “wolf”, which bears resemblance to his initials, “SR”. On his upper back is a cartoon of a ghoul, who is grinning malevolently, with a football.

He recently got two new tattoos “The spirit of those dead” and “Lies in the memory of those alive” (both written in English) on his right and left biceps. It also contains the dates 9-11 and 3-11, the dates of the terrorist attacks on New York and Madrid. He also has a long tattoo along the width of his back containing the names of his sister, Miriam, his brother, Rene and the number 4 (representing himself) along with stars. There is also a large religious tattoo on his left upper arm and a “M” with wings around on his lower stomach.

Quite a few other players are known for their love for ink. The likes of Francesco Totti, Christian Vieri, Deco, Fabio Cannavaro, Tim Cahill etc. have been smitten by tattoos at one point of their career or the other. Phew, it must have been painful!!

Ambuj Gupta
General-Male-Engineer (If you fit the combo too, you will realize your misfortune once you appear for CAT). Well, been associated with Keeda off and on for more than 3 years now. Write football stuff. Manchester United, Netherlands.
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