FeatureThiago Alcantara's passion for self-expression and art: 'I love quality in things'

By Glenn Price


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It's fitting a player who can make football look like art enjoys the creativity of others outside the sport.

Thiago Alcantara, the gifted and accomplished Liverpool midfielder, chose to give his tattoo artists the freedom to create when it came to the sleeve on his right arm.

"As I play, I see life, I love quality in things, I love quality in work in any action," the 32-year-old tells Liverpoolfc.com in the latest of Carlsberg's Inked series, exploring players' tattoos and the stories behind them.

"For me it's a great experience to try to interact with great artists and see how they work, see how are the pictures and if I want a tattoo on myself I try to think what I like most by giving a lot of room for the creativity of the artist."

Thiago got his first tattoo the day after he turned 18 and would then add to his 'collage' to mark his journey through life.

In his mind, there was no question if he would ever get one.

He explains: "I came from a family where we were on the beach a lot in Brazil and loads of people have this culture for the body and most of them with tattoos. My mum has a lot as well.

"I grew up where it's more of a self-expression of moments of life or in some situations you remember the good and bad moments or the not-so-good moments. It's a kind of self-expression.

"I always wanted [one]. I think it's something when you see for the first time, you say, 'OK, I like it.' And then your second thoughts are, 'It suits me or not.' There are people that love tattoos but they don't have any because they say, 'OK, it's not for me.'"

The starting point of Thiago's glittering career in Europe was cause for him to get his opening design.

Aged 14, he left home for FC Barcelona and their famed La Masia academy, with his mother's parting words leaving a mark that is now materialised on his skin.

A line from the Brazil national anthem related to his father and a guardian angel, among others, then found a place on the dad-of-three's tapestry of ink.


"It was a message [from] a bittersweet moment because I was leaving home but at the same time I was going to achieve my dreams," Thiago says of his first.

"I did everything separate because you're doing it at a young age, you're putting everything together, doing like a kind of collage. There's not a big harmony between but there's a lot of things that I went through in my life and I want to express that in tattoos."

The Reds No.6 also carries a symbol of his love of football, as someone who was born into a footballing family – with his dad, Mazinho, winning the World Cup with Brazil back in 1994.

Thiago, a bona fide winner himself, has helped the clubs he's represented lift the Champions League, La Liga, Bundesliga, FIFA Club World Cup and Emirates FA Cup – to name the standouts – ever since making his professional debut nearly 15 years ago.

And while on the theme of permanence, football is a game he adores for its ability to imprint forever-held memories on everyone associated with it. You can leave your own mark.

"Football creates these kind of special relationships," Thiago finishes. "We can see also in the streets that people that you never saw in your life, they treat you like it's part of their family or it's a friend – because they see you every three days on TV or in the stadium.

"So for us it's to create this kind of relationship here because you spend more time with your teammates, with the staff members than most of your family members. Liverpool has a story and you're just a small part of this big club and history."



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