Shit Football Ink: 20 Of The Worst Footballer’s Tattoos Ever Committed To Skin (Photos)

Chris Wright

3rd, August 2016


He’s even included the trademark symbol for crying out loud!

As a doff of the cap to Mark Clattenburg’s outstanding new UEFA-approved tattoos, Pies deemed now to be as good a time as any to examine some of the very worst, most misguided examples of footballing body art to have been committed to epidermis in recent years.

If you’re sitting comfortably, then we will begin – starting with a classic of the medium…

Daniele De Rossi


Several years ago, De Rossi decided to get a “tackle hazard” sign tattooed on his calf as testament to his own tough tackling approach and a warning for others to avoid it at all costs.

Sergio Ramos


Ramos’ entire body is full to the brim with miscellaneous doodles hither and thither but his homage to Michael Jackson, the smoothest of all criminals, is surely his biggest clanger.

Mauricio Pinilla


Having come within inches of sending Chile through to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2014, striker Mauricio Pinilla had a tattoo on his lower back to commemorate his shot that thwacked against Julio Cesar’s crossbar in the final few minutes of extra time against Brazil.

The tattoo depicts his shot hitting the bar in the 119th minute of the game, along with a fateful inscription: “One Centimetre from Glory”.

Marco Materazzi

Inter Milan's defender Marco Materazzi shows his tattoed back as he pulls over his jersey during a training session on April 12, 2011 in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany. German first division Bundesliga football club Schalke 04 prepares to play Inter Milan in their Champions League quarter-final, second-leg match to take place on April 13, 2011. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Looking like the inside cover of Pies’ old junior school jotter, Materazzi has adorned his torso with little homages to everything he holds dear, including his humble collection of Nike trainers.

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry all finished

A video posted by Bang Bang (@bangbangnyc) on


Jay Bothroyd


Photo: @jaybothroyd/Instagra

England international (we must never forget) Jay Bothroyd proudly displayed his ingenious tattoo off on Instagram, only to be immediately besieged by a barrage of abuse from folks who quite incomprehensibly took offence at seeing the word ‘Love’ spelled out in guns, grenades and flick knives.

Some people, eh?

Alberto Moreno


There’s no point in asking, because we just don’t know.

Andre Santos


Once of Arsenal for a hot five minutes, the Brazilian left-back has an entire motivational fridge magnet’s worth of hippy-dippy spiel on his calf, rife with irregular capitalisation and little flowers.

Nile Ranger


You may be labouring under the illusion that a man with a smiley face needled on his inner lip couldn’t possibly commit to an even more pointless tattoo.

We’re here to tell you that you’re wrong.

Dennis Erdmann


Apparently Erdmann had his girlfriend kiss a piece of paper and then used the lipstick mark as a template for his tattoo, which he proudly debuted at Schalke’s pre-season training camp a season or two back.

End result? An everlasting hickey that looks suspiciously like the bubonic plague from anything over six feet away.

Wayne Rooney


Such is his love for the Welsh band, Rooney has a Stereophonics lyric (“Just enough education to perform”) tattooed on his arm to make it look as though the words are etched on his very skeleton.

While it may be pertinent, it certainly isn’t pretty.

Lionel Messi


As well as his grotesque arm and leg sleeves, Messi has the handprints of his firstborn son, Thiago, tattooed on one of his hallowed calf.

Daniele Portanova


The Genoa defender had stick figures etched right across his freshly-epilated belly, each one wearing the shirt of every club he’s played for in the past: (from left to right) Fermana, Messina, Napoli, Bologna, Genoa and Siena.

Jermaine Jones


Despite being born in Frankfurt, Jones now boasts the most ‘Murican of all freedom-lovin’, flag-flyin’, eagle-molestin’ ‘Murican tattoos after getting Old Glory tattooed right over his kneecap.

Alessandro Diamanti


Rock hard prison tats, as imagined by a seven-year-old Japanese girl.

Mario Balotelli


A quote from Genghis Khan no less, who was famous for raping and pillaging his way around half the world in the 12th century.

How fitting that his words be appropriated by one of the most pampered, indulged and bejewelled footballers on the face of the planet.

Eljero Elia


In attempting to mark Feyenoord’s Dutch Cup win last season, Elia made an absolute hash of his ankle tattoo – firstly spelling the name of his club wrong and then opting to have the wrong date entirely stencilled underneath the trophy.

Thankfully, a skilled tattooist was (just about) able to rectify the mess.

Gaston Pereiro


Nacional midfielder Pereiro, who was 19 at the time, went out and had the face of teammate Alvaro Recoba tattooed on his arm after the Uruguayan veteran scored the winner in the Clasico derby against Penarol last season.

Looks more like ‘The Hound’ from Game of Thrones to us, but that’s probably by the by.

Alberto Gilardino


Yes, that is indeed Peppa Pig. A little gift to his daughter, apparently. Not that that’s any excuse.

Artur Boruc


Just when you’re on the cusp of forgetting that this abomination exists, the horrendous, nauseating memories are dragged out into the open all over again.


Suggested further viewing…

Shit Football Ink: 16 Of The Very Crappest Fan Tattoos