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Exclusive: Diego Carlos dreaming of inking in his latest success with Aston Villa

Should all go to plan, Diego Carlos will end his season with a trip to a tattoo parlour.

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Diego Carlos has been a strong presence at the heart of Villa’s defence

Everything the Villa defender has achieved and all he holds dear is inked out somewhere on his limbs.

There is separate artwork celebrating the births of his three children, as well as a lion representing courage and strength.

On his right calf, meanwhile, above an image of the Europa League trophy, sits the outline of a player performing an overhead kick, in tribute to the spectacular manner in which Carlos himself decided the 2020 final of the former competition in favour of Sevilla.

"There isn't a tattoo on my body which doesn't have meaning," he smiles. "It is just a way of remembering and celebrating these moments.

"Of course, I hope to be adding another one at the end of this season!"

With Unai Emery's Villa sitting fourth in the Premier League, through to the last-16 of the Europa Conference League and with an FA Cup fourth round replay to come against Chelsea next week, there feels every chance that hope might be realised.

Carlos already knows about dreams coming true. The tattoo which best sums up his outlook on life, is that of a lotus flower.

"They can be born out of anything," he explains. "It means whatever your aspirations, you can make life what you want."

Such belief has helped take him from Barra Bonita, a small town of 36,000 inhabitants some 200 miles north-west of Sao Paulo, to the Premier League via stops at Estoril, Nantes and the aforementioned Sevilla. There was also a trip to the Tokyo Olympics, as part of the Brazil team which won gold.

Carlos describes his childhood as a happy one, albeit of limited means. He has not forgotten his roots, having recently become part of Play Higher Brazil, a charity which aims to help youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds through football.