Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Story behind his tattoos that disappeared

  • Rob Swan
The story behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tattoos that disappeared

In 2015, Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrated scoring a goal for Paris Saint-Germain against Caen by removing his shirt to reveal his torso covered in new tattoos.

It was only the second minute of the match but Zlatan made a point about removing his jersey.

Even though the Swedish striker knew he would receive a yellow card from the referee, he did it anyway.

With his arms outstretched, Ibrahimovic held his shirt in his left hand while displaying his body to all four corners of the Parc des Princes.

Zlatan was booked, which meant he would miss PSG’s fixture against AS Monaco two weeks later through suspension.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic shows off his tattoos

Video: Zlatan revealed tattoo-covered body after scoring for PSG

Watch the footage here:

What happened to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tattoos?

As the weeks and months passed, though, some football fans were left confused after seeing photos and videos of Zlatan without his shirt.

Where did Zlatan's tattoos go?

Where had Ibrahimovic’s tattoos gone?

The story behind Zlatan’s tattoos that disappeared

It transpired that the tattoos Zlatan was so keen to show off after scoring against Caen were temporary.

Zlatan had an important message to deliver to the world, drawing attention to the global issue of famine.

“When I took my shirt off against Caen, everybody asked what these new tattoos were,” the Swede was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “I had 15 removable tattoos on my body, they are the names of real people who are suffering from hunger in the world.

“[While] those tattoos have gone now, these people are still here … I hope that you can see them through me.”

Zlatan was booked for his celebration

Zlatan said that he agreed to the idea of covering his body in temporary tattoos in an attempt to raise awareness for the United Nations’ World Food Program – which fights against hunger worldwide.

“Wherever I go people recognise me, call my name, cheer me,” the charismatic striker added. “But there are names no one cheers for. If I could, I would write every single name on my body. But there are 805 million people suffering from hunger in the world today … So whenever you hear my name, you will think of their names. Whenever you see me, you will see them.”

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It was a gesture of real class from a footballer who, throughout his career, has at times been accused of being self-obsessed and egotistical.

The World Food Program wrote: “On 14 February 2015, Paris Saint-German played against Caen at Parc des Princes. For most players this game was just another day on the job. For Zlatan Ibrahimovic this was his most important game to date. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his PSG spell
PARIS, FRANCE – MAY 07: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG watches the celebrations after winning the 2014 Ligue 1 Champions title after the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Stade Rennais FC at Parc des Princes on May 7, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“Underneath his sweater he had 50 new names tattooed. Names of people he’d never met, but still wanted to keep close. Names of some of the 805 million people suffering from hunger today. 

“These people don’t often make the front page, yet hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

“This is a campaign from the World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. In emergencies, they get food to where it is needed, saving the lives of victims of war, civil conflict and natural disasters. WFP is part of the United Nations system and is voluntarily funded. 

“On average, WFP reaches more than 80 million people with food assistance in 75 countries each year. About 11,500 people work for the organisation, most of them in remote areas, serving the hungry.”

Does Zlatan have any permanent tattoos?

The former Manchester United, Barcelona and AC Milan superstar does have some permanent tattoos including, perhaps most notably, this impressive back tattoo of a lion.

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