LONDON – Manchester City defender Danilo has played down the row surrounding team mate Raheem Sterling's gun tattoo.
A picture of Sterling's tattooed leg appeared on the front page of Britain's popular Sun tabloid on Tuesday and prompted criticism from anti-gun campaigners.
But the 23-year-old England forward insisted there was a deeper meaning behind the tattoo than was apparent from first glance.
In an Instagram post from England's pre-World Cup training camp at St George's Park, Sterling wrote: “When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning N still unfinished.”
England's governing Football Association backed what it said was Sterling's “honest and heartfelt account” of why he had the new tattoo and now City teammate Danilo has also come to his defence.
“Many times in football we give too much attention to these details,” he said Wednesday at the training ground of Tottenham Hotspur in north London, where Brazil are holding a pre-Russia 2018 training camp of their own.
“It is something that is up to him. It is something that he is feeling and makes sense to him.”
Danilo, 26, saw his first season in England end with the Premier League title following his arrival from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Although he had to share full-back duties with Kyle Walker, Danilo was delighted by his time working with City manager Pep Guardiola during the defender's inaugural campaign in English football.
“It was an incredible experience,” he added. “I'm a big fan of Guardiola and how he plans the game. It was a great experience to work with him.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)