Lionel Messi has captured the imagination of the American soccer public – if he didn’t have their attention already – during his first handful of games for Inter Miami.
The Argentine sensation has brought much attention to MLS and created a stir around Fort Lauderdale.
And it is not merely with the lay person, with a litany of celebrities including DJ Khaled, LeBron James, Kim Kardashian and Diddy.
While Messi’s on-pitch work may be classified as some form of art, the genius himself has a litany of artwork across his body.
Here Mail Sport provides you with what you’ve always wanted to know; what tattoos does magic Messi have – and what do they mean?
The great Lionel Messi has unsurprisingly taken MLS & the American soccer sphere by storm
Messi with a portrait of his mother, Celia Maria Cuccittini on his left shoulder blade in 2011
Where better to start with what is widely reported to be Messi’s first-ever tattoo?
Seen here in 2011, Messi is pictured with a portrait of his mother, Celia Maria Cuccittini, on his left shoulder blade.
Messi pictured in 2019 while at the Copa America in Brazil, training ahead of the quarter finals
Continuing on the theme of family, Messi got a tattoo of his eldest son, Thiago’s hands — followed by a love heart with his name inscribed on the interior.
Thiago was born on November 2, 2012, leading his father to write in a Facebook post; ‘Today I am the happiest man in the world, my son was born and thanks to God for this gift! Thanks to my family for the support! A hug to everyone.’
Thiago is now 10 years old, and showed his soccer skills, nutmegging his famous father, during his Inter Miami unveiling.
Messi has a tattoo on his right bicep which looks to be a tribute to his longtime wife, Antonela
The apple of Messi’s eye is undoubtedly his childhood sweetheart-turned-wife, Antontela Roccuzzo.
So, it is fitting the former Barcelona man would have a tattoo which resembles her eye on his right bicep.
A tale as well-tread as the Grand Canyon, Messi and Roccuzzo met while he played for Newell’s Old Boys and reunited after he had moved to Catalonia to join FC Barcelona.
THE BALL HE’S MASTERED
The Argentine even reserved space on his dynamic left foot for his first love — a soccer ball
On Messi’s right leg, there are also the dates of his children and wife inked, plus their names
THE NO. 10
It’s unsurprising to see there was room on Messi’s mercurial left foot for the Argentine’s first love.
On his favored left leg, Messi has a soccer ball and adjacent to it are four dates of birth; his, Antonela’s — followed by his three children; Thiago, Mateo and Ciro.
As if one leg wasn’t enough, Messi decided to also ink them on the lower portion of his right leg and ankle.
On the other side of Messi’s left shin & calf is the No. 10, for which he is now synonymous with
Staying with Messi’s lethal left, on the opposing side is the No. 10. Though, this wasn’t his first number at Barcelona.
He began wearing No. 30 back in 2004 before pulling on the No. 19 shirt. It was in the 2008/09 season where he finally took the shirt for which he made iconic at the Catalan club.
Messi was had a different tattoo on his left shin and calf before blacking it out in later years
Prior to the aforementioned tattoo, Messi had this blue-tinged iteration, complete with what appears to be a cross.
Of course, Messi blacked it out, with the No. 10 only visible from this original artwork.
The image which stands out on Messi’s right arm is of Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns
While Messi’s right arm is filled with a sleeve displaying several tattoos, the one which stands out the most sits on his shoulder.
The image is of Jesus Christ himself wearing a crown of thorns – a powerful and sacred image to Christians.
Messi is a Catholic and referenced his gratitude to God several times following Argentina’s World Cup win over France.
‘I just said that God was going to give it to me,’ he told TYC Sports after the triumph in Qatar. ‘I was sure I had a feeling that this was the moment.’
A closer look at Messi’s arm reveals he has several clocks, perhaps indicating the role of time
A different angle shows off one of the timepieces illustrated on the Argentine’s arm in 2015
The image of Christ aside, there are several other interesting pieces of art along Messi’s sleeve, including three flowers and several clocks – perhaps signifying the preciousness of time.
Naturally, Messi has not discussed whether this is founded or otherwise.
While the meaning is not exactly known, Messi’s wife Antonela has a similar tattoo on her arm
Antonela, seen with her son Mateo at a La Liga game vs. Real Betis in 2016, has a similar tattoo
You would imagine this next tattoo will be commonly seen among eagle-eye viewers of Messi’s upcoming games.
The crown tattoo seen at the base of Messi’s right bicep can be most vividly seen when his arms are outstretched – often after he has scored.
Some reports have suggested it is a tribute to Antonela, who has a similar tattoo on her right arm in the very same position.
According to multiple reports, Messi also has another tribute to Antonela in the form of her lips
While it cannot be explicitly seen in this photo, Messi’s lower abs on the left side display lips – as if someone had kissed him there with red lipstick.
Perhaps at one point in time they did. In any case, multiple reports suggest it is yet another tribute to his striking wife.
A closeup of Messi during 2020 at Barcelona practice — showing a rosary tattoo among others
Another tattoo which has caused some conjecture involves the rosary on the right forearm of the Argentine.
Some suggest it is a reminder, and tribute, to his hometown of Rosario. Though, it could point to Messi’s religious beliefs, with the rosary a central instrument of practicing Catholics.