The Football Association has defended the England forward Raheem Sterling over a tattoo of a gun on his right leg, praising his “honest and heartfelt” explanation for the choice after he faced severe criticism in the tabloid press. Sterling isn’t the only footballer who has explained the meaning of his tattoos. Down is seven others footballers and the meaning behind their tattoos.

7. Raheem Sterling

England footballer Raheem Sterling has been forced to defend a new tattoo of an M16 assault rifle after anti-gun campaigners called it “disgusting”. The Man City forward said it reflected his pledge to never touch a gun after his father was shot dead when he was two years old.

“I shoot with my right foot, so it has a deeper meaning,” he wrote on a post on Instagram.

6. Leroy Sane

Leroy Sane was so committed to his latest tattoo that he dedicated four painful days to get it inked. The subject? Himself. Specifically, his goal against Monaco in the final 16 minutes of the Champions League in February 2017.

“I have some things that are important for me personally, so that’s why I decided to do it,” he told the Mirror last year. “When I was young, I always wanted to play in the Champions League.”

5. Mauro Icardi

The Argentine striker showed off a striking new tattoo of a lion’s head, incorporating his daughter’s names Francesca and Isabella. However ,a tattoo he had done three years ago is even more moving, as it incorporates the three children his wife has with her ex-hubby Maxi Lopez.

The tattoo names the three children Valentino, Constantino and Benedicto, and reads: “I love these three little angels”.

4. David Beckham

Although many footballers have their sporting achievements immortalized in their tattoos, David Beckham’s are different. He has more than 40 inkings and most of them celebrate his family.

All of his children’s names are marked in some form on his body, along with his wife Victoria Beckham and his parents. And in 2015, he permanently inked a stick drawing by his daughter Harper onto his hand, alongside a heart.

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