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The Real Meaning Behind Raheem Sterling's Gun Tattoo

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The Real Meaning Behind Raheem Sterling's Gun Tattoo

Raheem Sterling won England's game-changing penalty in the semi-finals against Denmark on Wednesday night. But that's not the only source of controversy to get fans talking. They also want to know about the gun tattoo on his leg.

Sterling's tattoos went largely unnoticed by spectators until the summer of 2018 in the lead-up to the World Cup finals in Russia. Sterling posted a photo of him training on his Instagram and the rifle picture on his right calf was showing.

Piers Morgan and Gary Lineker locked horns on Twitter over the said tattoo at the time, and it led to Sterling releasing a statement explaining its meaning.

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The England footballer reportedly has 14 tattoos in total, so he's got some catching up to do if he ever wants to compete with Tom Hardy and his 30 tattoos.

Raheem Sterling's tattoos (Credit: Instagram/sterling7)
Raheem Sterling's tattoos (Credit: Instagram/sterling7)

Raheem Sterling gun tattoo meaning

Taking to his Instagram in 2018, Sterling said:

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"When I was two, my father died from being gunned down to death."

"I made a promise to myself [that] I would never touch a gun in my lifetime.

"I shoot with my right foot, so it has a deeper meaning [and is] still unfinished."

Raheem Sterling's gun tattoo (Credit: Instagram/sterling7)
Raheem Sterling's gun tattoo (Credit: Instagram/sterling7)
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Sterling was born in the gang-ridden neighbourhood of Maverley in Kingston, Jamaica in 1994.

Reports say that his father, who was in his late-twenties at the time, was gunned down in an ambush. There was a deep rivalry between the gangs of Maverley and Waterhouse, where his dad grew up.

Sterling's mother, Nadine Clarke, was a competitive athlete in the Jamaican national athletics team and he credits those genes for his successful football career.

Sterling moved to London at age five with his older step-sister Lakima. Their mother had already moved to England in search of a better life.

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Sterling blames the negative press around his rifle tattoo leading up to the 2018 World Cup for his downfall in the tournament.

"The last World Cup I went to was a disappointment for me."

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"I was so up for it. I thought 'this is my time now', I had a great season with Man City, then bang, straight negative."

"I had my tattoo for 10 months and just before I go to the World Cup a story comes out that I have a gun on my foot. I've had this tattoo for 10 months, why at this moment in time?" he added.

"I went [to the World Cup] that summer and I was overthinking all the negative press that I had. It was a disappointing one for me on a personal note, but at the same time it was a great experience for the team to do really well."

Sterling will play in the UEFA Euro 2020 finals against Italy on Sunday 11th July at Wembley Stadium, a place he grew up in the shadow of when the family emigrated from Jamaica.

Featured Image Credit: PA/Instagram/@sterling7

Topics: Football, Tattoo, Raheem Sterling

Laura Sanders
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