Tattoos are a prominent part in todays game of football. Whether they be works of art, religious allegiances, meaningful messages or propaganda, each star has the opportunity to showcase them to millions of viewers. In this piece I’m going to shed light on some of the more iconic pieces in today’s game, and how they have been used to the benefit of others.
Zlatan is perhaps the most inked icon in the footballing world. His latest undergoing was the addition of 50 names to his frontal region. On the surface this seems very odd and unorthodox, but that’s who Zlatan is. The names were to signify the UN World food Program and the 805 million people whom suffer from hunger. The 50 names were only scratching the surface for the most problematic “disease” in the world, hunger. Zlatan revealed the new creation after his second minute goal against Caen. Such an act was deemed irresponsible, as removing one’s shirt so early in a game and garnering a yellow card puts the player and the team at risk for the remaining minutes. However, for Zlatan, disclosing the message was far more paramount than the cautionary punishment. In a WFP interview he exclaimed; “whenever you hear my name, you will think of their names. Whenever you see me, you will see them”. Zlatan’s tattoo was also complimented by a promo-awareness clip that attained 1.2 million hits by the end of the unveiling weekend. Today, that number is relishing in the upper 4 millions.
Tim is another decorated activist, to an extent. On the surface, you would never know as his collection is hidden from plain sight. Meanwhile under his shirt he has a mosaic of images and names. For Tim, family seems to be the most integral part of his work and he bears his child’s name Jacob on his right pectoral and a juvenile image of his mother on his right. However unlike Zlatan, Tim doesn’t parade any activist pieces, as taking a shirt off is an infrequent part of a goalies‘ game. Rather, Tim models for groups to highlight his backing. Recently he unveiled his torso for PETA and their “Ink, NOT MINK” campaign. PETA is a meaningful charity, to Tim, as he despises the inhumanity toward the animals whom are embroiled in the fur trade. It was this sentiment that inspired him to raise awareness of the cruelty, and hopefully make a difference.
Both of these players are national football hero’s in their respective countries. By portraying their allegiances to these worthy causes, it really inspires the younger generations too also“make a difference”. The youth look up to these players and want to become just like them. A humbling act will be viewed upon by some as a necessary act to not only please their hero but to also make it to the top level. A simple stand can go a million miles. The other aspect is the fact that these two garner so much media attention that by becoming activists the will spread their charities‘ manifesto all over the world. This would be faster than they or the charity could’ve managed alone, with the medias outreach. Zlatan and Tim are two humble players who are looking to make a difference on and off the pitch.