Tattoo Survey + Full Results

An August 2019 survey of 2,000 UK sports fans saw Sergio Ramos’ finger tattoos voted as the worst among sportsmen.

The poll also ranked ink from other male athletes, with Mike Tyson’s infamous tribal face tattoo coming second on the list overall. Surprisingly, Tyson’s tatt is popular enough amongst sports fans to land him on the list of the 20 best tattoos too. Raheem Sterling’s machine gun leg tattoo fueled tabloid outrage in May 2018, so it’s somewhat unsurprising to see his ink rank highly, coming in at fifth, with Alessandro Diamanti and Jay Bothroyd claiming third and fourth spots respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, ‘Goldenballs’ himself – David Beckham – took home the trophy for best sporting tattoo, according to fans. Lewis Hamilton’s elaborate artwork saw him finish second place on the podium, while the outline of Africa inked on Anthony Joshua’s shoulder took home the bronze. Barcelona legend Lionel Messi came fourth on the list, despite undergoing a cover-up job on his magical left peg.

The study was commissioned by Compare.bet, whose spokesman said: “It’s unusual nowadays for a modern athlete not to have any tattoos.”

“One of the most famous is Cristiano Ronaldo, who supposedly doesn’t have any because he gives blood so often.”

“But of course, with so many sports stars covered in ink, some of them are bound to be more memorable – for better or worse – than others.”

The ultimate quiz for sports enthusiasts has also been created, testing fans’ knowledge on whether they know their idols from their ink.

Compare.bet’s spokesman added: “With so many athletes having tattoos, it can sometimes even be hard to work out whose is whose. We’ve created a quiz to test people’s knowledge of sporting ink, and some of them are much harder than you’d think.”

TOP 20 WORST TATTOOS

  1. Sergio Ramos
  2. Mike Tyson
  3. Alessandro Diamanti
  4. Jay Bothroyd
  5. Raheem Sterling
  6. Andres D’Alessandro
  7. Tim Howard
  8. Nile Ranger
  9. Conor McGregor
  10. Daniel Agger
  11. David Beckham
  12. Damian Delaney
  13. Leroy Sane
  14. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  15. Artur Boruc
  16. Wayne Rooney
  17. Lionel Messi
  18. Stephen Ireland
  19. Nigel De Jong
  20. Dele Alli

…AND THE BEST

  1. David Beckham
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Anthony Joshua
  4. Lionel Messi
  5. Conor McGregor
  6. Leroy Sane
  7. Daniel Agger
  8. Nigel De Jong
  9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  10. Wayne Rooney
  11. Mike Tyson
  12. Greg Rutherford
  13. Stephen Ireland
  14. Tim Howard
  15. Raheem Sterling
  16. Dele Alli
  17. Sergio Ramos
  18. Ezequiel Lavezzi
  19. Alessandro Diamanti
  20. John Stones

1. Which of these current or former athletes do you think has the BEST tattoos? Select as many as you like

Name %
Alessandro Diamanti 4.05
Andres D’Alessandro 2.35
Anthony Joshua 10.45
Artur Boruc 2.9
Conor McGregor 8.45
Damian Delaney 3.45
Daniel Agger 7
David Beckham 21
Leroy Sane 8.35
John Stones 3.85
Jay Bothroyd 2.95
Greg Rutherford 5.05
Ezequiel Lavezzi 4.1
Dele Alli 4.55
Lewis Hamilton 10.75
Lionel Messi 10.05
Marco Materazzi 2.5
Mike Tyson 5.3
Nigel De Jong 4.05
Nile Ranger 1.55
Stephen Curry 3.35
Sergio Ramos 4.15
Ryan Mason 3.8
Raheem Sterling 4.65
Stephen Ireland 5.05
Tim Howard 4.8
Wayne Rooney 5.45
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 5.55
None of the above 40.1

2. Which of these current or former athletes do you think has the WORST tattoos? Select as many as you like

Name %
Alessandro Diamanti 20.65
Andres D’Alessandro 17.05
Anthony Joshua 8.15
Artur Boruc 10.75
Conor McGregor 13.20
Damian Delaney 11.25
Daniel Agger 12.20
David Beckham 11.35
Leroy Sane 11.10
John Stones 8.25
Jay Bothroyd 20.45
Greg Rutherford 7.90
Ezequiel Lavezzi 7.90
Dele Alli 8.90
Lewis Hamilton 8.50
Lionel Messi 9.55
Marco Materazzi 8.05
Mike Tyson 23.60
Nigel De Jong 9.30
Nile Ranger 13.55
Stephen Curry 6.50
Sergio Ramos 28.80
Ryan Mason 8.25
Raheem Sterling 17.65
Stephen Ireland 9.40
Tim Howard 16.55
Wayne Rooney 9.95
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 10.95
None of the above 19.70

3. Do you think it’s ‘the norm’ now for athletes to have tattoos?

Choice %
Yes, definitely 27.40
Yes, somewhat 50.55
No 22.05

4. Do you have tattoos currently?

Choice %
Yes, multiple 13.90
Yes, one 11.35
No 74.75

5. Have you ever got a tattoo based on the design of one an athlete has?

Choice %
Yes, many times 12.67
Yes, once or twice 14.06
No 73.27

6. Do you respect an athlete more if they DON’T have tattoos?

Choice %
Yes, lots 25.50
Yes, a bit 22.75
No 51.75

7. Why do you think athletes tend to get so many tattoos? Select all that apply

Choice %
They have too much time on their hands 24.10
They have too much money 41.60
They get bored easily 18.25
They see others doing it and want to copy them 33.80
They have more experiences to remember, therefore want to commemorate these with tattoos 13.15
It’s a way of showing off 49.65
None of the above 17.55

8. What do you think is fine for an athlete to get a tattoo of?

Choice %
Their mum’s name 27.70
Their own name 15.95
Their kit/squad number 22.35
Their own face 8.55
Their team’s logo 23.50
An iconic moment from their career 32.00
A religious script 21.30
Their partner’s name/face 24.60
Their child’s name/face 34.65
Their Instagram or Twitter handle 6.70
A gun 4.05
None of the above 40.05

9. What do you think athletes should NEVER have tattoos of?

Choice %
Their mum’s name 12.70
Their own name 22.75
Their kit/squad number 14.95
Their own face 33.20
Their team’s logo 17.45
An iconic moment from their career 9.75
A religious script 21.60
Their partner’s name/face 20.00
Their child’s name/face 14.20
Their Instagram or Twitter handle 31.35
A gun 57.65
None of the above 22.05

10. Where do you think is the worst place for an athlete to have a tattoo?

Choice %
Foot 1.15
Leg 1.95
Crotch 11.40
Hip 0.80
Stomach 2.00
Chest 1.05
Shoulder 1.25
Arm 1.20
Hand 2.35
Neck 4.90
Face 50.80
Backside 3.45
None of the above 17.70

11. If you were an athlete, would you have lots of tattoos?

Choice %
Yes 8.15
No 71.90
Not sure 19.95

12. Which sport do you think has players with the worst tattoos?

Choice %
Football 53.45
Rugby 6.30
American football 9.00
Basketball 6.70
Hockey 2.65
Cricket 3.10
Tennis 2.35
Athletics 5.75
Darts 11.05
Formula One 3.50
Fishing 3.05
None of the above 28.40

13. How many tattoos would you have if you were a professional athlete?

Choice %
0 1.23
1 – 3 6.13
4 – 6 13.50
7 – 10 20.86
11 – 13 7.36
14-16 9.20
17-20 7.98
21-23 3.68
24-26 4.29
27-30 3.68
31-33 0.61
34-36 0.61
37-40 1.23
41-43 0.61
44-46 0.61
47-50 1.23
51+ 1.84
I don’t know 15.34
Average 14.4

14. Do you think professional athletes with lots of tattoos will regret them when they’re old?

Choice %
Yes, definitely 35.55
Yes, somewhat 41.95
No 22.50

15. On balance, do you like athletes more when they have tattoos, or no tattoos?

Choice %
Tattoos 5.75
No tattoos 46.50
Neither/both the same 47.75

16. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘I think professional athletes get paid too much’

Choice %
Strongly agree 42.25
Somewhat agree 29.70
Neither agree nor disagree 23.35
Somewhat disagree 2.70
Strongly disagree 2.00

17. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘Professional athletes have a tendency to overdo it with tattoos.’

Choice %
Strongly agree 38.70
Somewhat agree 31.55
Neither agree nor disagree 25.85
Somewhat disagree 2.45
Strongly disagree 1.45

18. Have you ever liked a footballer or other athlete less after they got loads of tattoos?

Choice %
Yes, lots 12.60
Yes, one or two 20.30
No 67.10

19. Do you think there should be a limit on what, or how many, tattoos athletes should be allowed?

Choice %
Yes 28.60
No 71.40

20. Do you think athletes getting tattoos is a trend which will become more or less popular, or stay the same?

Choice %
It will become more popular 16.40
It will stay the same 33.55
It will become less popular 25.75
I don’t know 24.30
About this page
Last updated:
12th September 2019
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