For some fans of the beautiful game, meeting their favourite player, getting a picture and autograph on a jersey is a dream come true. For others, their love for a player and team knows no bounds, which might explain why they get something more permanent and intimate: a tattoo.
Few players inspire fan tattoos as much as seven-time Ballon d'Or winner and PSG player Lionel Messi, who was at it again during his visit to Inter Miami's training base following Argentina's international friendly against Honduras in Florida.
Francisco Ranieri, a goalkeeper at Inter Miami, had "the best day ever" when the Argentine legend signed the young keeper's forearm, who then had it permanently tattooed. Ranieri's caption shows the emotion and love that he has for his compatriot, too: "Leo, you fulfilled a dream and every day I look at my arm I will remember the excitement I felt when I met you. I can't put into words how great you are!"
Francisco is not alone when it comes to adoring Messi and investing in a life-long, permanent expression of that adoration, though some have gone to dramatic lengths to get a Messi signature on their bodies. We chose some of our favourites fan tattoos of the Argentine great.
One super fan, Cristian Solera, traveled from his hometown in San Juan, Argentina and followed the national team all the way to London so he could get Messi to sign his leg tattoo. After waiting outside the hotel where the team was staying and nearly getting kicked out, he was able to meet one of the coaches who helped him achieve his dream.
Solera wrote in his Instagram caption "that maybe for some is just a signature of a footballer, for me and for billions of people he is an example to follow."
Although Solera's tattoo is less conspicuous, Brazilian Igor Magalhaes has covered his entire back with the superstar's iconic goal celebration with a piece of wearable art that took three sessions to complete. The tattoo shows Messi's famous celebration after scoring a late winner for Barcelona against Real Madrid and holding his No. 10 shirt up at the Bernabeu crowd.
The tattoo featured on TyC sports, where it drew Messi's attention and he promised to sign it. He met Magalhaes in Brasilia and signed the enormous tattoo, and the super fan wrote "Now I can die in peace," after posting the interaction on his Instagram.
There are countless fans with Messi tattoos, but after winning the Copa America in 2021 against Brazil, there was naturally another surge of fans depicting epic images from the final in their body art. A lucky fan with an image of Messi holding and kissing the Copa America trophy on his back met the maestro, who graced the artwork with his autograph.
Lionel Messi signed the back of a fan with a tattoo of Messi with the Copa America trophy. This via TyC Sports. pic.twitter.com/8Pbrak55tB— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) November 16, 2021
Meanwhile, other fans will hope to one day embellish their tattoos dedicated to one of the greatest to every play the beautiful game, but for now, they'll have to keep dreaming.
A Barcelona fan showing off his Lionel Messi tattoo outside the Nou Camp! pic.twitter.com/4BzgC3sG2A— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 6, 2021
An Argentina fan got a tattoo of Lionel Messi on his thigh. pic.twitter.com/fsBdYzMryp— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) March 23, 2022