Meet the man who describes himself as “Botafogo’s biggest fan” – and the 83 tattoos he has to prove it!
“I was born a Botafoguense,” explained Delneri Martins Viana, 69, a retired soldier.
He grew up watching the likes of Manga, Nilton Santos, Didi, Zagallo, Quarentinha, Garrincha and Amarildo form one of Carioca football’s greatest-ever sides, got to watch Gerson, Paulo Cesar Caju and Jairzinho dazzle thereafter, and Tulio Maravilha inspire Botafogo to Campeonato Brasileiro glory in 1995.
Delneri got his first tattoo – a tribute to Garrincha – 14 years ago. He instantly caught the ink bug. His body is now covered in tattoos of Botafogo mottos, former players, badges and even Biriba, a dog former Fogão president Carlito Rocha broke club rules to take to matches as a good-luck source!
A sign outside the home Delneri shares with wife Marina Gonalves, and dogs Garrincha and Loco Abreu, in Bangu, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, reads: ‘Welcome… but please don’t speak ill of Botafogo.’
The pair assiduously ensure the house remains a shrine to the club known as O Glorioso (The Glorious One) and A Estrela Solitária (The Lone Star).
Delneri tries to attend every Botafogo match – home and away – and is often accompanied by similarly impassioned daughters Glaucia and Marcela. “They only have around ten tattoos each though,” said their dad matter-of-factly.