The big news for Italy today might be the fact they just beat England to take out the Euros final, but the best thing that I have learned this morning is to do with an Italian player’s tattoos, because he’s got a whole sleeve of characters from Madagascar. Fuck it, they deserve to win with that kind of energy.

Following Italy’s big win on Monday morning our time, pictures of the team celebrating on the field flooded social media – including one pic showing off the tattoos on an unknown man’s arms. Sorry but… is that Alex the lion, Melman the giraffe, and King Julien the lemur from 2005 DreamWorks film, Madagascar? Is that one of those ratbag penguins?

After a bit of important investigative journalism and research (read: punching in “italian football madagascar tattoos” into Google), I found out those arms belong to one Francesco Acerbi. The man’s covered head to toe in rogue tatties, which I simply must respect.

But that sleeve dedicated entirely to the characters of Madagascar, I can’t get past it. It’s so weird and funny and just straight-up GOOD.

I mean, the bloke’s met the bloody Pope, albeit with long sleeves on. But just knowing that the arm that’s littered in characters from fuckin’ Madagascar has shook hands with the Pope has sent me.

Alongside the characters from the mid-00s animated film, Acerbi also has a bunch of other big cats tattooed, as well as “The Lion King” inked across his chest, after adopting the nickname ‘Leone’ (meaning ‘lion’ in Italian) when he beat testicular cancer in 2013 at the age of 25.

I guess that explains why he’s dedicated most of his right forearm to Alex the lion, but it doesn’t give much context to why he has the rest of them – or why he’s clearly missing Marty the zebra and Gloria the hippo.

madagascar tattoos italian

I do just have one question for this Francesco Acerbi, however. Do you like to move it move it?

Image: Getty Images / Claudio Villa / Instagram / @francescoacerbi88