From new names to old games, multiple players saw their trading card values increase during and after the World Cup.
When it comes to the sports trading card boom of the last couple of years, soccer isn’t typically mentioned in the same conversation as football and basketball, despite soccer being the world’s most popular sport. But as the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar comes to a close, it’s easy to see how this year’s rendition, which was arguably the most exciting tournament in recent memory, was a stellar platform for players to get noticed.
Not only do certain athletes etch their names into sports lore with big performances on the pitch on the biggest stage in sports, but their names also become more valuable from a hobby perspective. Sure, superstars such as World Cup champion Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo will surely see a tick in the values of their respective trading cards due to their overwhelming popularity and this being presumably the final World Cup runs for both.
But this year’s event also featured explosive youth such as Ronaldo’s country mate Gonçalo Ramos and Achraf Hakimi of Morocco. So now that the 2022 World Cup has concluded, Boardroom looks back at some of the biggest winners in the world of trading cards.
Ramos filled in for Ronaldo in the starting lineup against Switzerland in the Round of 16 and he did not disappoint. The 21-year-old scored a hat trick, a feat that isn’t commonly seen especially by someone whose rookie cards came out last year. Ramos’ Topps Merlin /99 from 2020-21 sold for under $40 in the months leading up to the World Cup. That same card saw an increase of 175%.
What a run it was for Morocco, which became the first African nation to make the World Cup semifinals after defeating Portugal and Spain before ultimately falling to France. Hakimi is the star of the team and, even though he’s 24, his cards saw a nice increase in value. His 2020 Topps Transcendence autograph, which was a $30 card, sold for $100 during the team’s run.
No one has scored more World Cup goals before the age of 24 than Mbappe, which has made the French striker’s cards some of the most lucrative to own. Mbappe’s 2018 World Cup Prizm base PSA 10 before the World Cup was selling consistently for $115; that same card now sells for over $250. Even with the recent sports card market correction, that shows base cards can still increase in value for players that are on track to be one of the best to ever do it.
If this is Messi’s last World Cup, he’s going out only a GOAT-level player can. Seemingly the only thing he hadn’t won up until this point, Messi led Argentina to a World Cup victory by defeating Mbappe and France in the Final on Sunday. Combine an amazing career with the scarcity of true rookie cards, and Messi’s older cards have increased interest from all collectors. One of Messi’s oldest cards, a 2006 UK Traditions World Stars in a SGC 10 grade, sold for $550 after their semifinal win against Croatia — a 38% increase over the last 3 months. This card could see future bumps considering Argentina’s win.
How can a player who didn’t play in the World Cup be a winner? The thing is, even though Haaland didn’t lead Norway to a World Cup appearance, his card values have only dropped slightly, if at all, in the last couple of months. This is a great time to buy for the long term, as the 2026 World Cup is expanding the field to 48 from 32, giving Haaland and Norway a much higher chance to be on the international stage.
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