Tattoos so often seem like a good idea before turning out to be something to regret.
They can represent any number of things such as social class, personal influences, personal allegiances and religious beliefs. Of course the issue with them is that their beauty is more often than not in the eye of the beholder.
What to one person may seem like a beautiful spread to another is more frightening than Nicholas Bendtner being named sole striker. What to some may look like a blend of beautiful colours can to others scream trashy, tasteless infusion. You get the picture.
Article continues below
With sports stars being at the focal point of the media so often, having so much money to boast and not many exciting activities they can partake in without risk of injury, tattoos come in abundance.
In other words we've stumbled across a mosaic of opportunity when it comes to deciphering the best, and worst, tats around. Here we've dedicated the best part of 600 words to giving you a run down of some of the strangest sports star tattoos around. If these don't make you re-think your ink, nothing will.
Article continues below
Kicking us off we’ve got Portuguese football star Raul Meireles, famous in England for his stints with Liverpool and later Chelsea.
Fans who have watched him will be able to spot a mile off that he loves a good tattoo, but it’s only when you catch a glimpse of him behind closed doors that it’s really digestible. The faces of three women, a Lisbon tram and a clock are just some of the features at home amongst the 32-year-old’s leg ink, and whilst we’re not going to attest to knowing the story behind any of the influences, it’s safe to use strange as a good adjective.
What’s cooler than being a 6ft 9in Russian giant who manages to crack the NBA? Getting a massive tattoo on your back inspired by a famously nerdy video game of course!
That’s right, Andrei Kirilenko’s back-piece is said to have been designed based on his love for popular online game World of Warcraft, which goes some way to explaining the Satanic monster-man with giant wings spread between his shoulder.
It may not have been enough to save his NBA career - he’s now back plying his trade in his home country, but it certainly must have been enough to have 12-year-old’s all over America saving their pennies in the hope that one day they can be a walking advert for a fantasy land where riding a dragon makes you cooler than James Bond.
Next on the list is a rather controversial piece sent in from Jay Bothroyd, aged 32, from Islington - we’re kidding, he didn’t really sent it in.
The former Arsenal youth prospect, now playing for J2 League side Jubilo Iwata after a succession of spells with various English clubs, made the headlines when he posted a picture of his rather questionable tattoo back in his Queens Park Rangers days.
Located on the side of his stomach, Bothroyd’s little number has love spelt out oh so sensitively using a gun for the L, a grenade for the O, and flick knife for the V and a machine gun for the E. *Cue awwwws everywhere. Nothing says eternal happiness like instruments of death.
We want to tread carefully here given that Marcos Maidana is a brutally efficient fighting machine, so we’re going to approach this differently in the hope that the language barrier doesn’t allow for him to understand sarcasm.
We really, really love the tattoo of the strange baby head on his chest. It goes really well with the pistol just a few inches below it and is perfectly normal for a man who spends his life punching others in the face. In fact, we’re so impressed by it we’re astounded as to why more people haven’t inked themselves with the face of an infant.
Here’s to hoping he’s not nifty with Google translate.
Brock Lesnar’s tattoo is almost as famous as Brock Lesnar himself. It’s cool, we’ll give him that, but also very weird.
Of course we’re referring to the huge sword that runs right up the middle of the ex-UFC star’s chest, and whilst it’s right at home amongst the ever ongoing carnival that is the WWE, it doesn’t really have much of a place in any other walk of life.
We’re realists though, the chances of Lesnar ever applying to be a chest model are slim to none. So we can appreciate how the extra element of badassness it gives him.
It’s normal for sports stars to idolise other celebrity names that have gone before them. After all, once upon a time said sports stars were just wee little nippers worshipping the greats of their time as the youngsters of today might worship Cristiano Ronaldo or Beyonce.
It’s clear from UFC ace Alan Belcher’s choice of artwork that when he was boy the late Jonny Cash was someone he looked up to. Why you ask? Well because he’s got a portrait of the singer-songwriter on his bicep… we think.
Belcher’s homage to one of the United States’ most influential musicians of all time is hilarious in the fact that it appears to be completely random and is totally isolated. We’re not about to tell Belcher what he should and shouldn’t do, you understand, but come on.