Lionel Messi's tattoos explained: What do they mean & whereabouts on his body are they?

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2018
Getty Images
The Barca captain has slowly added to his ink over the years, with family being a key theme throughout the artwork

It seems that tattoos are to modern-day footballers what perms and moustaches were to their 1980s counterparts.

Some of the best footballers in the world have allowed their bodies to become canvas for ink artists, including five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

While his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo is tattoo free - reportedly because he regularly donates blood - the Barcelona and Argentina star has his fair share of inkwork and they are situated all over his body.

His collection has grown and changed over the years, but what are they and where exactly are they on his body? Goal takes a look.

Lionel Messi's leg tattoos

The most striking tattoos Messi possesses can be found on his legs.

His favoured left leg, in particular, presents an interesting image, since the bottom half of it is mostly black ink.

This is because he has had earlier tattoos - specifically a sword, angel wings and a red rose - covered up.

Lionel Messi tattoo

The only tattoos that can be found on Messi's left leg are a picture of his son Thiago's hands along with the first-born child's name on his calf, as well as the number 10 - which he wears for both club and country - and a football on his shin.

In 2018, Messi began filling his right leg just above the ankle with the names and birth-dates of all three of his sons: Thiago, Mateo and Ciro.


A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on

Lionel Messi's sleeve tattoos

Lionel Messi tattoo

Messi also has a number of tattoos on his right arm and has cultivated a sleeve over the years.

At the top by the shoulder is a picture of Jesus Christ in a crown of thorns, presumably inspired by his religious beliefs.

On the inside of his bicep there is an eye - perhaps based on that of his wife Antonella Roccuzzo, though it is unclear - and a small crown.


A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on

A rose window, possibly based on the famous Santa Maria del Pi church in Barcelona, can be found on his elbow, while a budding red rose, a pink lotus and orange flowers adorn the arm too.

A classic pocket watch, surrounded by timepiece cogs takes up the space on Messi's forearm, suggesting that he is all too aware of Time's relentless march.

Lionel Messi's body tattoos

Lionel Messi tattoo

One of the first tattoos Messi got was the face of his mother, Celia, which is situated on his left shoulderblade.

The forward has a very close relationship with his mother



Article continues below

A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi) on

Messi also has a tattoo dedicated to the other woman in his life - his wife Antonella.

The artwork, which is situated on his left hip and could easily be missed, is of Roccuzzo's lips and coloured red.