The 20 Worst Tattoos in World Football

Charles LawleyContributor IJune 10, 2013

The 20 Worst Tattoos in World Football

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    The decision to get a tattoo, a drawing that will be a part of your body until your dying day, is a big one and should not be taken lightly.

    But that doesn't stop footballers having any old scribble scarred onto their person at the drop of a hat.

    When your career will probably only last 20 years of your life, like it does for footballers, it is hard to fully contemplate what a full-term choice a tattoo can be.

    Which is probably why some footballers are so happy to get some utterly garbage skin ink done.

    We've been through every ugly tatt' in the beautiful game and these are the worst, so sit tight and feel safe in the knowledge that all of these people can afford skin grafts.

20. Lukas Podolski

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    Football is a very fickle industry. At one moment you can be a team's hero, loved by all the fans. The next moment you can be hated by everyone. 

    So, Lukas Podolski's decision to get a Cologne tattoo is a risky one.

    However, the real entry for the 20th worst tattoo in world football is his potential tattoo as, according to The Daily Mail, he is planning to get an Arsenal tattoo on his other arm. 

    While it may seem a good idea now, imagine if Ashley Cole, Robin Van Persie, Emanuel Adebayor or Samir Nasri had done the same? They were once adored at Arsenal but are now despised by fans at the Emirates.

    But if they had encapsulated that one-time bond, only to leave the club and fall foul of the fans, they'd be scraping the tattoo off with a spoon.

19. Daniele De Rossi

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    We all love a bit of humor, but there's a time and a place for comedy.

    That place isn't your leg and that time is when a tattooist is holding a tattoo gun.

    To football fans, Roma's Daniele De Rossi's tattoo looks like a "Warning: Slide Tackles" sign. To anyone else, it looks like a sign warning you that leaning on the floor can cause people with amputated left legs to have electricity shoot out of the shins of their right leg.

18. Stephen Ireland

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    Stephen Ireland isn't a man known for making great decisions: there's his terrible cars and his terrible, terrible lies about his grandmothers (note: plural) dying and the terrible, terrible, terrible tattoos.

    Ireland obviously saw the horrible serial killer character played by Ralph Fiennes in the Hannibal Lecter movie Red Dragon and thought "that's a good look."

17. Antonio Nocerino

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    AC Milan's Nocerino has a lower-back tattoo or, what is known in Jerry Springer Show terminology as, a "tramp stamp."

    Not to mention that the "Nocerino 23" tattoo doesn't really apply at the moment as he is 28 and wears the shirt number 8.

    Besides that it's...

    ...still awful.

16. Christian Vieri

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    You know the bored doodles you do on the corner of your notebook when you're in a meeting?

    Well someone must have been very bored in a meeting and didn't have a notebook and pen, but just had a tattoo gun and the arm of Italian legend Christian Vieri to pass the time.

15. Torsten Frings

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    Retired German footballer, Torsten Frings, is a good example of one of the most fundamental flaws in tattoos – fashions change.

    In 5 years time, when we do this list again, full sleeve tattoos will feature heavily when they are out of style. It was all well-and-good in the 80s when mullets were all the rage, you could cut them off when they looked rubbish. You'll need new arm skin to get rid of your full sleeve tatts.

    Frings' tattoos, in particular, have aged like a pear once owned by George V. They're so 90s that he may as well have got a Furby swimming in a lava lamp tattooed on him.

14. Djibril Cisse

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    For a man who bleaches his beard like QPR's Djibirl Cisse does, the amount of peroxide he must accidentally swallow is bound to affect his judgement. 

    There is hardly an inch of Djib's torso that hasn't been tattooed, but the general theme is of some unruly youths breaking free from their safari group and graffiting random images on an elderly, resting leopard.

13. Marco Materazzi

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    The mixture of different colored jewels that make up the tattoos on the right bicep of former Inter Milan defender Marco Materazzi's right bicep looks like it's from the sort of game your unemployed friends on Facebook keep trying to “invite" you to. 

    Imagine how Zidane would have reacted if Materazzi had threatened to give his sister tattoo advice in that infamous World Cup final? 

12. Mario Balotelli

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    A slideshow about footballers making terrible decisions, you say?

    Of course Mario Balotelli's invited.

    In 2012 he got the words of Genghis Khan tattooed on him:

    "If you had not committed great sins/ God would not have sent/ A punishment like me upon you"

    Talk about bigging yourself up. You're a temperamental striker, you weren't even first choice at Manchester City, let alone the "punishment of God."

    Genghis Khan had an empire that stretched from modern-day China to modern-day Russia.

    Mario Balotelli has played for three football clubs, two of them are in the same city.

11. Raul Meireles

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    Fenerbache's Raul Meireles has a distinctive look to him, one of the most unique parts of his appearance are his many tattoos, especially the one that is basically his back.

    The only rational explanation for Raul Meireles' back tattoo is that he is one of the world's worst ever Yakuza members or that he got it done in the hope they start casting for a sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films, The Mediocre Midfielder With The Dragon Tattoo.

10. Andre Santos

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    The design of Arsenal's Andre Santos' left-leg tattoo looks like it has been done in the same mixture of fonts as a psychopath would use when scrawling nonsensical and troubling words on the walls of his studio apartment before the police catch him. 

    However the words themselves, "No one can take away your pain so don't let anyone take your happiness," are the sort of wishy-washy nonsense that is usually made into an image and shared by single mothers on Facebook.

9. Wesley Sneijder

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    An educated guess would be to look at Galatasary's Wesley Sneijder's ribs and assume he has used tattoos to signify a career achievement and the face of someone close to him.

    But if you have a closer look he seems to have a Champions League trophy tattooed and Michael Jackson's severed head inked onto his body.

8. Nicki Bille Nielsen

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    What is the mentality of a man who would get a gun tattooed on his stomach (not to mention various tattoos that look like they've been done in felt tip)?

    It is the mentality of a man who would react like this to being denied a penalty claim.

    It is the mentality of Rosenborg's Nicki Bille Nielsen, who is one of the Norwegian game's more colorful characters - colorful in the sense of standing out and colorful in the sense that his skin looks like a clown's melted on him.

7. Noel Hunt

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    Reading's Noel Hunt's tattoo is biblical in theme, but not biblical in quality.

    This ink looks like he's passed out at a party and his very religious, but not very artistic, friends have drawn on him for a prank.

6. Jay Bothroyd

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    QPR's Jay Bothroyd caused controversy in April when he unveiled his tattoo. And not just because of how bad it was.

    It is essentially "love" (a good thing) spelt out in weapons (a bad thing) it is what people who aren't very smart would describe as "well deep."

    Bothroyd replied in The Sun to the people who complained it was promoting gang culture:

    "The meaning is you have to fight for love. It reads ‘Love’ if some people can’t see. More than anything it’s artistic."

    More than anything it's rubbish, Jay.

5. Artur Boruc

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    Picture the scene: You're having a trip to the zoo with loved ones. Maybe your kids, maybe your elderly grandmother, someone dear to you who you perceive to possess innocence.

    You're having a lovely day when you get to the monkey enclosure. The monkeys are playing up for the crowd, having a great time.

    Then one rogue monkey, decides to bend over and spread his anus at you and your family.

    Your first reaction is to turn away and shield the eyes of the loved ones who are on the trip with you. No one wants to see a monkey's anal passage.

    And absolutely no one wants a primate bent over and spreading its bum cheeks tattooed onto their stomach. 

    No one apart from Southampton and former Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

    Boruc even once used the tattoo to taunt rival Old Firm fans by writing "Rangers" on the tattoo. We're not sure how much of a taunt that is as no matter what he writes, he'll still have a monkey anus tattooed on his person. 

4. Wayne Rooney

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    In 2008, Wayne Rooney had the words "Just Enough Education To Perform," a reference to an album from his favourite band, The Stereophonics, tattooed on his forearm.

    Not only that, but he had it bordered in a design that makes it look like his skin is being eaten away.

    Enough education to perform, but not enough education to realize burnt skin isn't a desired look.

    In 2011, Rooney went one better and basically had hair tattooed onto his head.

3. John Carew

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    Firstly, we're big believers in that a tattoo should be hidden by a suit. So John Carew's neck tattoo falls down at that hurdle.

    However, what makes this a true howler of a tattoo is that, according to The Metro, the writing "Ma Vie, Mes Régles" was meant to translate to "My Life, My Rules".

    But what it actually translates to is "My Life, My Menstruation."

2. Robbie Savage

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    In this picture, look at Robbie Savage's right arm.

    Above those stars.

    Look familiar?

    Take a closer look.

    Yes, that is the Armani logo.

    Robbie Savage, in his wisdom (last count: dangerously low levels of wisdom), went one better than these people who name their dog "Burberry" or their child "DKNY."

    He actually had the Armani logo tattooed onto his arm.

    Do you want to know how bad a tattoo it is?

    It is so bad even Robbie Savage realized and had it covered up.

1. Nile Ranger

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    Nile Ranger is currently a free agent after being released by Newcastle United in March.

    But heaven knows why Newcastle wouldn't want Ranger on their books.

    Possibly it's because of his terrible taste in cars?

    Or maybe it's because of his even worse taste in tattoos?

    Or could it be because, as a striker, he scored 3 goals in 51 league games for Newcastle?

    It was probably the tattoo thing.

    Nile, for a reason unbeknownst to any trained psychotherapist, thought it was a good idea to have (and pay for) a smiley face to be tattooed on the inside of his bottom lip.

    Imagine if the government in your country said that as punishment, anyone convicted of a crime would have a rubbish emoticon tattooed in their mouth.

    There would be uproar! Not even the most conservative minds would stand for such a violation of a human's rights, regardless of the crime committed.

    People wouldn't even want this tattoo as a punishment, let alone choose to have it.

    And you probably can't even get a skin graft for a TATTOO ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR MOUTH.

    The worst tattoo in world football history. Take a bow, Nile, but keep your mouth closed.