18 of football’s most ridiculous tattoos: Kenedy, Materazzi, Wenger…

Football tattoos can unite or divide a nation. These are the most absurd inkings in the game.

Tattoos define the current generation of footballers. Where once players were the picture of normalcy — side parting, shorts pulled high, appearing to have come straight from the greengrocer — today’s crop are anything but.

Some have tattooed knuckles. Some — maybe most? — have full sleeves. Some, young lads barely into their 20s, have self-portraits covering their entire back.

In other words, today’s footballers would look equally at home playing drums in Blink-182 as they would on the pitch.

But how to navigate the world of footballing tattoos? Where to start with a phenomenon that now dominates the arms, legs and torsos of seemingly every player in the game? How to approach a subject that has caused wonder, debate and even stigmatisation on an unprecedented scale?

Search no further, because the following is a guide to the most ridiculous (but arguably most important) tattoos in the world of football.

18. Kenedy


17. Mauro Icardi

Argentinian striker Mauro Icardi is known for two things: scoring goals and cuckolding former Sampdoria team-mate Maxi Lopez.

Currently going through a separation with Lopez’s ex-wife Wanda Nara, weird stepdad Icardi actually has the names of Nara and Lopez’s three children tattooed on his arm.

Oh, and a massive lion face on his torso.

16. Daniele De Rossi

A more loveable former Serie A captain is Roma legend Daniele De Rossi, who also has some eye-catching tattoos.

The pick of the bunch? A triangular ‘caution’ sign depicting one stickman (presumably De Rossi) aggressively slide tackling another.

15. Wenger-respecting Arsenal fan

Good? Yes.

Trying too hard? Maybe.

This would obviously feature higher were it drawn on Wenger himself.

14. Just the name ‘Trent Alexander Arnold’

No hyphen. No sense.

The weird thing is that this would still be a bad tattoo even if ‘Trent Alexander Arnold’ was, say, your brother who died at war, and not just a decent full-back with five caps.

13. Artur Boruc

Former Bournemouth and Celtic ‘keeper Boruc only retired last year at the age of 42. 

The likes of Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski stopped him getting more Poland caps than he might have but do they have a mooning monkey on their bellies? Do they balls.

Boruc’s horrendous tat is even positioned so that his belly button becomes the monkey’s arsehole.

12. Alberto Gilardino

Alberto Gilardino is one of those Italian strikers of the 2000s whose name you know well but who, after making little impression in European competition, might have been good, rubbish or, for all you know, in prison for mafia-related activities.

Here’s an indisputable fact, though: World Cup winner Gilardino has Peppa Pig tattooed on his arm.

The striker said it was for his daughters, but it stands on its own merits, too.

11. Paolo Di Canio

When Gilardino went to the tattoo parlour, he asked for a pig who, according to Wikipedia, enjoys jumping in puddles.

When fellow Italian forward Paolo Di Canio went to the tattoo parlour, he asked for Dux, referring to Benito Mussolini.

“I got the tattoo in 2000, in Bologna,” Di Canio explained. “I was playing in England and I was recovering from an injury.

“For me, Mussolini represented the idea of a society with rules which everyone respects: love and patriotic pride.”

10. Mauricio Pinilla

And yet this is somehow worse than Mussolini.

At the 2014 World Cup, Chile were eliminated by hosts Brazil in the round of 16.

But things could have been different: with the scores level in extra time, Chile striker Mauricio Pinilla smacked a shot against the crossbar in the 119th minute.

After missing his penalty in the subsequent shootout, Pinilla decided to ink the crossbar moment on his back, captioned with the words ‘One centimetre from glory’.


Another striker with a penchant for cuckolding and shite body art, Pinilla was, in 2007, caught sleeping with the wife of Chile’s then-captain, Luis Antonio Jiménez.

Jimenez later put his team-mate in hospital.

9. Leeds-supporting bank clerk


8. Damien Delaney

Reckon this might actually be the worst of the lot.

7. Marco Materazzi

Just some trainers.

6. Liverpool-supporting Spartan

This Liverpool fan’s tattoo depicts Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard leading a forlorn-looking Nasser Hussain into battle.

The birdlike face of Jan Kromkamp peers down from above.

5. Man City fan who’s just f*cked it all off

In a way, this is the most credible football tattoo of the lot, since the fan is (surely?) just having a laugh.

Robinho. Kaka. Goater.

4. Alberto Moreno

This isn’t a Liverpool witch hunt, but there seemed to be something in the Mersey water that made people want to stab themselves in the arm in the most aesthetically troubling way possible.

This is your standard monkey-in-headphones-with-gun fare, but it’s the sheer size of Alberto Moreno’s tattoo that’s most upsetting.

Maybe he lost a bet with Artur Boruc.

3. Mark Clattenburg

Now we’re talking.

Mark Clattenburg always seemed like he wanted to be a footballer. There was the hair transplant, the banter with Adam Lallana, the overall comfort in the limelight.

Then there were these tattoos.

Sorry, we’re down with Respect and all that, but being a referee is nothing to brag about. If you were given some kind of honorary document for officiating the Champions League final, you’d probably keep it in a drawer, somewhere between your 2:1 in Geography and your swimming certificates.

You wouldn’t do this. Nobody would do this.

2. Rueful Newcastle fan

Despite the needy and attention-seeking efforts of Damien Delaney and co, this fan effort remains probably the most iconic tattoo in football.

It belongs to a Newcastle fan who, in the year 1995, had a celebrating Andy Cole tattooed on his left thigh.

Just a few days later, the striker was sold to Manchester United.

That wasn’t the end of the tale, though: the fan later had his artwork modified to resemble Les Ferdinand, which seems a bit like cheating.

And there we have it. Ending the list with a chuckle. Nothing too serious, too grand or too…

1. Leroy Sane


The only logical starting place here is to acknowledge just how sad this makes you.

Is it funny? No, it is not.

It’s not funny because Leroy Sane was probably the most beautiful man in the Premier League. And not in the sense of, say, Andrea Pirlo’s an ‘andsome lad, isn’t he? Oi Oi! Hide yer daughters! We mean that Leroy Sane could actually be, like, an angel.

Just an actual angel, somehow both cherubic and masculine, descended from heaven to pick up big ol’ cheques from the Middle East.

If you looked at Leroy Sane’s back and there was a tiny pair of white wings, you wouldn’t be that surprised. You might look twice, yes, but would you be surprised? No.

But Leroy Sane’s back, in reality, just depicts a shit version of Leroy Sane’s front.

A massive, massive Leroy Sane, on the back of Leroy Sane.

He’s even taken a leaf out of Mauricio Pinilla’s book by depicting a moment — permanently, we should add — from a game in which he lost.

“It’s also the pose in which I often celebrate my goals,” Sane clarified. “That’s why I chose that picture.”

Fucking hell, Leroy.

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