Ink art: The most eye-catching tattoos in sport

Updated 10:34 AM ET, Fri November 3, 2017
David Beckham tattooDavid Beckham tattoo
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Perhaps the man who started the trend. Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham was one of the first high-profile footballers to make tattoos a fashion statement. His first was in 1999 to mark the birth of his first child, Brooklyn. The 42-year-old is reported to now have more than 40 tattoos. IAN KINGTON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
All an illusion? During his time with Paris Saint-Germain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic removed his top to unveil a torso covered in ink. The Manchester United striker revealed this year that, at the time, he had 15 removable tattoos on his body which were "names of real people who are suffering from hunger." Those tattoos have now gone, but there's still plenty of ink left on Zlatan. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is another major athlete with major art work on his body. The world's most famous NBA player has "Chosen 1" on his back, to name just one, a tattoo he had done after becoming a cover star on a Sports Illustrated issue while still in High School. Jason Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands adds color to the court in a variety of ways. The American has a tattoo of a large flowery design, which features honeybees, on the inside of her right arm. Pat Scala/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Barcelona star Lionel Messi has quietly been accumulating quite a collection over the years. The Argentine's left leg is now all covered in black from the knee down, except for 'No.10' and two hands alongside the name of his son, Thiago. ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
UFC star Conor McGregor has clearly been a regular visitor to the tattoo parlor over the last 18 months. He has a large tattoo across his abdomen and his left forearm, and a silverback gorilla wearing a crown on his chest. Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Former US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has opted for a literary tattoo on his left forearm ... EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The Swiss tennis player has the words of Irish poet and playwright Samuel Beckett written on his arm: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter, Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Czech tennis player Karolina Pliskova has two Polynesian-style tattoos, one on her left thigh and the other on her left arm -- they come in useful when needing to tell her and her twin sister, Kristyna, apart. Yifan Ding/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
PSG defender Dani Alves is one of football's characters. The former Barca star's arms are adorned with Catholic images and dedications to his family, while across his chest is his son's name in giant script. VALERY HACHE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
NBA star Carmelo Anthony is one of many athletes who sports a sleeve -- a series of tattoos covering his arm. On his right arm is a flaming basketball with his initials, representing his commitment to his sport. Elsa/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
The upper half of NFL star Colin Kaepernick's right arm is covered in ink, as is most of his torso. Across his chest is written "Against All Odds" while down his arm is the word "Respect." Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
US high jumper Inika McPherson caught the eye at this year's World Athletics Championships in London. The 5ft 4in athlete has reportedly over 30 tattoos. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
It's impossible to miss Chile and Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal on the pitch. The footballer sports a Mohawk and numerous tattoos and last year added to his collection -- an image of an insulin pump -- in tribute to his son who has Type 1 diabetes. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
American footballer Natasha Kai, who made her international debut in 2006, has a unique style and famously appeared on TV show "LA Ink." Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images North America
British swimmer Adam Peaty had a lion inked on his left arm after winning two Olympic gold medals in Rio in 2016. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/AFP/Getty Images