Tattoos are an increasingly popular part of Western culture, especially with athletes and footballers. No matter your stance on body art, this mode of expression definitely requires some confidence. Did we miss any? Since “best” is such a subjective word, we welcome your comments below:
New York Red Bulls captain and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has two sleeves, with 24 hours worth of work on his right arm alone. The Frenchman is a fan of celebrity tattoo artist Bang Bang, who worked on both of his arms in New York City.
We dig the way Clint Dempsey chose to pay homage to his home state of Texas, with an outline around his elbow and a star representing his hometown.
David Beckham is almost as well known for his tattoo collection as his lengthy career, stellar finishing ability and that whole “bend it” thing. Along with his children’s names, a misspelled tribute to his wife Victoria and large guardian angel on his back. He’s got 32, at last count.
Liverpool’s Daniel Agger really loves tattoos, apparently. From the Viking mural on his back to the sleeve and a half of full color tattoos, Agger is no stranger to the needle. His smallest tattoo, “YNWA” on his knuckles, might be the most sentimental.
California wonderchild Sydney Leroux is coming into her own as a striker for the red, white and blue. She and her 17 tattoos were featured in this year’s ESPN Bodies issue, including “LOVE” on her knuckles, a dead oak tree and a depiction of her chihuahua, Boss.
Portugal‘s Raul Meirles has a massive dragon that spans his entire back, two sleeves and an assortment of neck tattoos.
Djibril Cisse‘s entire torso deserves it’s own blog post. Seriously. He’s about run out of room. Cisse’s collection includes a set of wings on his back, paw prints on his shoulder and a skull on his stomach.
Before her last game for the stars and stripes in 2009, USWNT veteran Natasha Kai was known as one of the fiercest competitors on the field. At last count, in 2012, Kai has at least 55+ tattoos.
Manchester City man Sergio Aguero‘s signature tattoo is written in a fictional language. Anyone else a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”? It spells “Kun Aguero” in Elvish script, in Tengwar form.
Paris-Saint Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is starting a killer collection on his back, including a red dragon, “Only God Can Judge Me” on his ribcage and a massive [Swedish?] fish on his left shoulder.
Schlake 04’s Kevin Prince-Boatneg looks to be in the process of building two sleeves, and also has two neck tattoos (playing cards and a crown). I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Prince-Boatneg also has a tattoo on the inside of his mouth. (We couldn’t find a picture to show you, but figured that might be ok.)
USMNT regular and Schalke 04 Jermaine Jones appears to be making a scrapbook out of his torso. His tattoos include the names of his children, wife, best friends and most recently, the American flag.
Brazilian Dani Alves also has an impressive set of sleeves, including a traditional portrait of Jesus Christ on his left arm represents the spirituality that was crucial to his upbringing.
Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland flaunts a full sleeve, and an impressive set of wings on his back.
Last, but not least, Italy‘s Mario Balotelli has a Genghis Khan quote tattoo on his chest that only adds to his intimidation factor. “I am the punishment of God/If you had not committed great Sins/God would not have sent/A punishment like me upon you”. Duly noted, sir.
Any tattoos you think we missed? Let us know in the comments box.