10 Footballers Tattoos With The Most Emotional Meaning To It

Beyond skills, some people are fascinated by footballers tattoos. While some people see tattoos as just meaningless body artwork, some people even think it is a sign of irresponsibility. But many footballers have proven that tattoos are far more than that. Many of them have tattoos that have deep meanings and we will be looking at some of them in this article today.

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10 Fascinating footballers tattoos

Here are 10 footballers with tattoos that have very emotional meanings. Let’s get down to it!

1. Raheem Sterling

Footballers Tattoos

Sterling has quite a lot of ink on his skin; a cross, stars, love, and even a palm tree. But perhaps the one with the deepest meaning is the tattoo of a rifle on his right leg. When the English media first found out about this tattoo just before the World Cup in 2018, they made a big meal of it. Piers Morgan particularly said stuff about it not being appropriate for a footballer, who is a role model to kids, to get a tattoo of an assault rifle on their body.

All that vitriol from the media prompted Sterling to explain why he got the tattoo. On Instagram, the Man City winger explained how his dad died from a gunshot wound when he was just 2 years old. So, since then he made a promise to himself never to touch a gun.

The tattoo is on his right leg, the leg he most often shoots with, so it has a much deeper meaning to him and serves as a reminder.

Sterling also said that the attack from the media really got to him going into the 2018 World Cup, and affected his performances. And it was also crazy because he had gotten the tattoo almost a year before the media decided to make a big deal out of it.

Well, on a more cheerful note, we also really love the tattoos he has on his upper leg and lower arm. The first is a picture of him with his daughter, and the second is a picture of little Raheem in front of a stadium with a ball in his hand. Those also have really deep meanings.

2. Toni Kroos

Kroos has a tattoo on his upper left arm which shows him holding hands with his wife and walking towards a stadium. It is just so beautiful because it seems to capture the two loves of his life in one picture. He’s right there with his wife, and he also still has his football. Perfect!

And you know what’s even more perfect? He didn’t leave his kids out. He has his children’s portraits and names tattooed on his arm. That is to show you how much family means to the Real Madrid midfielder.

Oh, we nearly left out the Lion King-inspired tattoo on his bicep. This one is a picture of Mufasa, Nala, and Simba, and it’s representative of his family. We believe he got it after Leon, his first son, was born. So, that would mean he is Mufasa, his wife Jessica is Nala, and Leon, his first child, is Simba.

3. Jadon Sancho

The first thing to point out about Sancho’s tattoos is that they show much he is a fan of cartoons and TV in general. He has tattoos of The Simpsons, Sonic, and Spiderman on his right arm.

But those don’t have very deep emotional meanings, especially when compared to the write-up he has on his left arm. It reads:

You and I will stay together, you made us happy, you brought us joy, you were a special baby boy. I couldn’t wait till you grew up, teach you football, and win the cup. But you’re gone, what can I do? Baby brother, we love you.

The Man United star wrote that poem for his younger brother who died at the age of 5. 

Around the poem on his arm, he also tattooed angels, birds, and heaven, where he believes his baby brother is now. Heart-wrenching, isn’t it? Well, sadly, the next one is, too.

4. Neymar Jr

Neymar has a lot of body art, but the one that pulls at our heartstrings is the tattoo he got last year as a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. 

In his Netflix documentary, we got to see how close Neymar was with the late basketball star and the mutual respect that existed between them. So, when Kobe tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2020, Neymar decided to get a tattoo to make sure that his memory still lives on.

He tattooed one of Kobe’s most famous quotes on his leg. When translated to English, it reads “People just don’t understand how obsessed I am with winning”.

And we think the PSG star carefully chose that quote to ink on himself as it not only reminds him of his late friend, it also serves as a source of motivation to him to keep winning.

5. Roberto Firmino

Firmino is really big on family and big on his Christian faith, too, and his tattoos capture these perfectly.He has a tattoo on his back which is basically a picture of his family. And beside it is a bible verse in Portuguese from Isaiah 40:31. When translated to English, it says:

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, will ascend with wings like eagles; they will run and not tire; they will walk, and they will not weary.”

And to show how much his family means to him, Firmino also has separate tattoos of his father’s and his mother’s portraits, both on his right arm. And if he has his parents inked on his skin, you bet he also has tattoos of his wife and kids. And yes, he does! His wife’s beautiful face is inked on his left upper arm, while his 2 daughters take their place on his leg.

6. Mario Balotelli

Super Mario is another guy with a lot of ink on his body. He has a tattoo of a cross on his arm which shows that he is a Christian. But the most interesting one to us is the writeup on his chest, a quote from Genghis Khan:

“I am the punishment of God, If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

The Italian striker got the tattoo back in late 2012 after netting his very first league goal of the season for Manchester City. It was a pretty tumultuous year for him, so that goal came as a little relief.

Yes, he gave Aguero that assist which helped City win their first Premier League title in over 40 years, but at the same time, he had gotten suspended numerous times due to bad behavior and the coach was fed up with him and wanted him out of the club.

So, when he scored that goal, it felt like some weight was lifted off his shoulders. But instead of partying and celebrating, he decided to go get a tattoo to commemorate the goal that meant so much to him.

And well, in typical Balotelli fashion, he got a write-up that depicts his ego and domineering personality. Some things just never change.

7. Lionel Messi

Messi is another player who does not play with family. With every opportunity he has, he proves to the world that family is the most important thing to him. 

The first ink he got on his body was the face of his mother on his back. Then, 2 years later, he got a tattoo of the handprint of Thiago, his first child. Now, he has tattoos of the names and dates of birth of his wife and his 3 sons on his right leg. He then went further to tattoo his wife’s lips just above his groin.

The Argentina national team captain also has a tattoo of the face of Jesus with the crown of thorns on his head. Of course, this shows that, in addition to family, Leo also holds his Christian faith dear to his heart.

8. Gabriel Jesus

Jesus is a very emotional guy, and you can tell from the tattoos he has on his body. On his left upper arm, he has a tattoo of a portrait of his mother. And just underneath it is a quote in Portuguese which, when translated to English, reads:

“Every step I take, every road I take, all the paths I choose, your hand will guide me, Vera Lúcia” In case you didn’t figure it out, his mother’s name is Vera Lucia.

And it would appear that he loves his mom so much because he has yet another tattoo dedicated to her. On his right elbow is the number 97, his famous phone hand gesture, and the words “alo mae” which means “hello ma” in english.

The tattoo is basically the celebration he does almost every time he scores a goal. It is him saying hello to his mother. The number 97 signifies his year of birth, so we believe he’s indicating the very first time he said hello to his mother just after coming out of her womb.

But amidst all these tattoos he has dedicated to his mom, the one on his thigh is perhaps still the most emotional of the lot. The tattoo is a picture of Tininho, his friend and former teammate who was murdered at the age of 16.

Under the portrait are the words “always alive in memory in part of my story”. When talking about the tattoo in an interview, an emotional Gabriel Jesus said:

“I remember him a lot. It sends shivers through me just to think of it. It’s difficult. But I know that God saved a very good place for him up there.”

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan may seem like a tough guy, but he actually is a pretty sentimental dude. The Swedish giant can do a lot of things, but one thing he will never do is joke with his family. And to show you just how important his family is to him, he has tattoos for all of them on his body.

On his right arm, are the names of the men in his family; his father, his brothers, and his sons. He goes further to add the dates of birth of his sons to the list. The left arm was preserved for the women in his family. There, he has the names of his mother and sister.

But the most emotional one for us has to be the temporary tattoo he got to bring awareness to world hunger some years back. He got the names of 15 people who were suffering from extreme hunger tattooed on his body.

Although they were not permanent tattoos, it was a very nice gesture from the Swede. Also, to make sure the issue got maximum attention, he took off his shirt during a game to expose the tattoos. Of course, he didn’t care so much about the yellow card he got for that.

10. Daniele De Rossi

During his time as a professional footballer, De Rossi was known to be a very tough guy. But the tattoos on his body show a pretty great dichotomy between his tough side and his soft side.

The tattoo on his calf shows some sort of a warning sign basically telling his opponents to beware of the hazard of a hard tackle.

But then, on his arm is a tattoo of Teletubbies. He got that tattoo because the cartoon looks funny and always reminds him of his daughter. Tough guy, right? Surely not when it comes to your daughter, mate.

The tough guy also has tattoos of other things he really loves. He has one of his wife’s face on his torso, and on his right arm is a tattoo of Rome, the city he was born in and represented at club level for virtually his entire career.

Do you know any other footballers with tattoos that really mean something special? Share them in the comments below!

Keep Reading: Top 10 Most Emotional Players in Football

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