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What’s Next for Lionel Messi in the Trading Card Hobby?

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The market for Lionel Messi cards has hit a period that only a few players have seen before.

Lionel Messi solidified his status as the GOAT of soccer with his World Cup victory for Argentina in 2022. As he enters the twilight of his career at 35 years old, fans are not only wondering what’s next for him on the pitch, but also what this means for the value of Lionel Messi cards.

Messi’s card values have increased since his World Cup win. While it may not have been a huge increase compared to Patrick Mahomes winning the Super Bowl, due to Messi’s age, it’s impressive because Messi has all the accolades a generational player could achieve: 7 Ballon d’Or, 4 Champions League titles, and countless La Liga titles.

The only trophy he needed to complete a storybook career was the World Cup.

“The argument for Messi being the greatest soccer player of all-time gets some extra fuel, so there might be a longer-term impact to the value of his collectibles,” said Warren Laufer, VP of Business Development at Arena Club.

As a result, Messi has entered a cycle in the trading card hobby that only a few players have before him — Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Tom Brady to name a few. And much like those GOATS, Messi’s cards will continue to experience steady growth in value.

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Which Lionel Messi Cards Will Hold Value?

Like any athlete’s collectibles, the Messi cards that are going to hold the most value are ones from his rookie year. The 2004-05 Panini Megacracks is considered to be Messi’s rookie card because it was his first card released by a major trading card company. During Messi’s career, there were plenty of new soccer sets to be released by both Topps and Panini. This includes Topps Chrome Champions League and Panini Prizm World Cup. These cards also hold value due to the low print-runs as Panini and Topps were testing the demand for soccer cards.

In addition to his rookie and first set run of cards, Messi autos and #’d variations will always hold value. Those values may not be anywhere as high as his rookie cards, but collectors will demand them, especially those that were released during iconic moments like the 2022 Panini Prizm World Cup.

What Makes Messi Different

As Messi continues to approach his eventual retirement, there will be a demand to own his cards from every new set, similar the current phenomenon we see from LeBron. No one knows when those two legends will retire and it could be sooner rather than later. Compared to a current star such as Kylian Mbappé, whose non-rookie year base cards would also be in demand due to his rising star, Messi’s would command $2 compared to $1. That may not sound much, but other well-known players’ base cards outside of rookies would command less than $1.

Rarer cards in new sets, such as low #’d parallels, could command higher than $100 for Messi. A 2021-22 Topps Merlin Chrome Messi /75 in a PSA 10 sold for $206 at the beginning of January. The same parallel for Mbappé sold for under $20 in raw condition. While there’s still a ton of excitement for Mbappé’s future, Messi solidifying his place among the greatest will continue to add stable growth in value of all of his cards even well after retirement.

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