The 10 worst tattoos at the World Cup... but who takes the crown?
Beneath the vibrancy and carnival of the Brazilian World Cup lies a perplexing, inexplicable and often hidden enigma that has at times has left the whole world asking “why?”
This is not the organisational issues that led to incomplete stadiums or the widespread social discontent at the competition’s expenses. It is of course the mystery of the footballer’s tattoo.
A wise man once said that "the body is a temple" and, as a direct result of this ideological concept, many high-profile World Cup stars have made their bodies a pictorial shrine to themselves, their families and, in the case of Holland’s Wesley Sneijder, the late Michael Jackson.
In light of the latest World Cup body-art shocker, Chile’s Mauricio Pinilla getting an image of his own crossbar-hitting shot that cost his country the game against Brazil etched onto his back, we look at the ten worst World Cup tattoos catching the eye in Rio for all the wrong reasons.
Some tattoos are impressive, but you would find many among this lot.
10) Daniele de Rossi
Midfield dynamo Daniele De Rossi kindly alerted opposition players of his sharp-tackling reputation by brandishing a bright yellow warning tattoo that looks more like a slipping hazard sign than anything else (perhaps Arjen Robben should book himself in with the same artist). Sadly, however, the ink is on his calf and gets hidden by his socks during games. As a result, the joke is somewhat wasted.
9) Wayne Rooney
England striker Wayne Rooney has the title of the Stereophonics third studio album etched on his arm, although the tattoo has also been interpreted as a humorous personal reflection of his own academic failure. Rooney famously didn’t achieve any GCSE’s, but given his £300,000 a week contract he probably doesn’t care too much.
8) Mario Balotelli
The Italian troublemaker had a quote from the Mongolian war-machine Genghis Khan written on his chest to celebrate his first goal of the 2012/13 season for Manchester City. It says “If you had not committed great sins/ God would not have sent/ A punishment like me upon you”. While the behaviour of the Italian could indeed be seen as a “punishment” to those around him, comparing himself to one of the greatest war leaders in history seems excessive… yet completely in-character.
7) James Rodriguez
Arguably the player of the tournament so far, James Rodriguez’s sweet left foot has no doubt been inspired by the strange image of Jesus on his lower leg. With five goals and two assists already, the Colombian winger will be praying that his religious icon can smite Brazil in the quarter-finals and propel Columbia to the title.
6) Arturo Vidal
The midfield ace, strongly linked to Manchester United this summer after his impressive performances at the World Cup, has a selection of body art that is equally as eye catching and somewhat perplexing. He a tattoo on his arm showing his skin tearing away to reveal a Spiderman costume beneath, which confusingly inverts the whole idea of a superhero disguise. Unless Peter Parker is dressed as Spiderman dressed as Arturo Vidal that is.
5) Lukas Podolski
The German striker probably rues the day he got a large tattoo of the Cologne crest on his bicep before making a big-money move to Arsenal soon after. Especially since he has hardly been a hit for the Gunner’s since joining two years ago. If Robin van Persie did the same before his move to Manchester United he would never see the end of it, nor will Podolski, as he is now stuck with it for life.
4) Raul Meireles
Tattoos generally carry some sort of emotional meaning; be it to celebrate the memory of a loved one or commemorate an important date (as without a constant bodily reminder, we would of course forget important life events). With that in mind, the symbolic dragon etched across the whole of Raul Meireles’ back represents the six happy years of his life he spent at Porto who are nicknamed “The Dragons”. This seems a bit excessive given his Champions League victory with Chelsea only merited the word “LOVE” written across his right knuckle with the “O” assuming the Champions League logo.
3) Nigel de Jong
The former Manchester City hard-man has shown his soft side with an intricate butterfly effect pattern that wouldn’t look out of place on a church floor. The design itself is rather tasteful, but the way it has spread like wildfire from his chest onto his neck and hands makes you wonder where it will stop. If rumours linking him to Manchester United are to be believed, expect a more ornately decorated Nigel De Jong than the one who left City two years ago.
2) Lionel Messi
He may be the world’s best with the ball at his feet but the Argentine’s tattoo choices leave much to be desired. The portrait on his back of Julia, his mother, is probably the last thing his wife would want to see if he rolls over in bed. Also, the picture of his son’s handprints on his left foot is frankly bizarre. It looks like something is reaching out of the ground and is trying to drag him to hell.
1) Wesley Sneijder
No-one knows whether the disembodied head on Wesley Sneijder’s ribcage is actually Michael Jackson or not, but whether intentional or otherwise, it really is an incredibly likeness. The Dutch international scored a vital goal against Mexico to seal a place for Holland in the quarter finals which keeps alive the possibility of Sneijder’s Champions League tattoo being joined by a World Cup one in between the “Thriller” singer.