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Planet Football: The complicated, clandestine world of soccer star tattoos

Tattoos and athletes have enjoyed a loving relationship for the past few decades, but the past seven days have seen skin art achieve a whole new prominence in the soccer world. Not since David Beckham started expanding his brand into permanent ink has a player of Lionel Messi’s stature come out with a bod-mod fetish, yet over the last week, his progression from clean-sleeved nice guy to painted rebel has been well-documented.

But Leo isn’t the only star whose work has been in focus. Barcelona teammate Neymar also has new ink — albeit work vaguely reminiscent of Becks himself — while Atlético attacker Mario Mandzukić had his curious tramp stamp exposed to the world.

Planet Football: The complicated, clandestine world of soccer star tattoos

Tattoos and athletes have enjoyed a loving relationship for the past few decades, but the past seven days have seen skin art achieve a whole new prominence in the soccer world. Not since David Beckham started expanding his brand into permanent ink has a player of Lionel Messi’s stature come out with a bod-mod fetish, yet over the last week, his progression from clean-sleeved nice guy to painted rebel has been well-documented.

But Leo isn’t the only star whose work has been in focus. Barcelona teammate Neymar also has new ink — albeit work vaguely reminiscent of Becks himself — while Atlético attacker Mario Mandzukić had his curious tramp stamp exposed to the world.

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