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2022 World Cup Trading Cards Buyer’s Guide

From the card values of the younger players to the veterans, Boardroom’s got you covered on all things trading cards ahead of the World Cup.

It’s time to get Trading Card Hobby collectors ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Every four years, the world’s greatest sporting event takes to the pitch. The World Cup in Qatar is set to begin on Nov. 20 with 32 countries — including reigning champion France — looking to hoist the FIFA World Cup trophy when the tournament concludes on Dec. 18.

For those looking to get into soccer trading cards, now is a fantastic time to become acquainted with the world’s most popular sport and athletes. Being new to either the sport of soccer or its respective trading cards can be intimidating. Luckily, Boardroom is here to help you get started in collecting.

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Which sets to collect?

Soccer not having as many sets as other sports makes collecting more lucrative. The most popular yearly sets include Topps Chrome UCL, Topps Chrome Bundesliga, and Panini Prizm EPL. This year is a bit different due to the World Cup, however. Panini Prizm just released their always-coveted World Cup set and it’s as popular as previous renditions.

Sealed hobby boxes of the 2014 World Cup Prizm sell for $6,000, while the 2018 World Cup Prizm sell for around $4,000. The 2022 hobby boxes go for around $400. For investors, this is a long-term hold opportunity to possibly 10x your money four years down the line. Or sooner if any of the tournament’s young rookies make their presence known in Qatar.

What to look for in players?

Soccer is a lot like basketball when it comes to trading card values. The players who score the most points (goals in this example) and have the most wins possess the highest values. Those positions are usually occupied by forwards and midfielders.

We’re at an interesting point from a hobby perspective for the 2022 World Cup. This is presumably the last World Cup for well-known stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two of the game’s GOATs. This means someone has to step up on the biggest of international stages, and this tournament certainly does not lack talent.

Young Guns

Spain

The 2010 World Cup champions are loaded with youth on their squad. Three players the hobby has their eyes on are Ansu Fati, Pedri, and Gavi. Their highly sought-after rookie cards are from the Topps Chrome Champions League set — Fati in 2019-20, Pedri in 2020-21, and Gavi in 2021-22.

Germany

Another European squad that’s exposing youth to the international stage is the 2014 World Cup champions. After a disappointing showing in 2018, Die Mannschaft is loading up on youth with players like Jamal Musiala, Karim Adeyemi, and Youssoufa Moukoko. All three of these players are 20 years old and under, and have been tearing it up for their respective Bundesliga clubs. All three of their rookie cards can be found in the 2020-21 Topps Chrome Champions League set.

Brazil

Brazil hasn’t won a World Cup since 2002 and its most recent memory is a 7-1 thrashing on home soil from Germany. The South American squad has a lot to be excited for in both Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo. Vinicius’ most popular rookie card is from the 2019-20 Topps Chrome Champions League set, while Rodrygo’s is his rookie ticket from 2019 Panini Chronicles.

Jude Bellingham

The Borussia Dortmund captain looks to bring football home for England. At just 19 years old, Bellingham has shown a lot of promise and will be a great complement to veterans like Harry Kane. Bellingham’s most coveted rookie card can be found in the 2020-21 Topps Chrome Champions League set.

Veterans

Outside of Messi and Ronaldo, there aren’t too many veterans who have high values currently in the hobby. That said, there are a couple that have been trending upward leading into the World Cup.

First is the Tottenham striker from South Korea, Son Heung-Min. Son looks to lead his nation out of the group stage for the first time since 2010 and looks to be the first Asian country to win a World Cup. His autograph cards are highly coveted, while his rookie card is considered to be the 2014 Panini World Cup Sticker.

Another goal-scorer to keep your eyes on from a pure card standpoint is Sadio Mane from Senegal. He’s been the man for Bayern Munich, but a recent injury has unfortunately knocked him out of World Cup play. It was thought that if he could get back onto the pitch and lead Senegal out of the group stage and deep into the knockout phase, the value of his cards could increase even more than they already have. Mane has a rookie sticker in the 2012 Panini Fussball Bundesliga set and in the 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup collection.

Mane’s Bayern Munich teammate, Alphonso Davies, is another to keep an eye on. Although Davies plays defense for his club, he plays up front along with Jonathan David for his country. Both were crucial in getting Canada to its first World Cup since 1986 and both will look to continue that momentum in Qatar. Davies’ rookie card is from 2018-19 Donruss Soccer, while David’s rookie piece is in this year’s Prizm World Cup set.

The last veteran to keep an eye on is one of the hobby favorites, Kylian Mbappe. The darling of the 2018 tournament looks to bring France its second consecutive World Cup trophy. There hasn’t been a repeat World Cup champion since Brazil in 1962.

Mbappe’s value can continue to exponentially climb if he adds to his four-goal performance from 2018 en route to another potential World Cup title. For obvious reasons, his various rookies all have tremendous hobby value. The most sought-after ones are from the 2017 Topps Chrome UCL and 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup sets.

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