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Soccer cards are one of the better-emerging markets to invest in, especially as a European Championship and a World Cup is coming up in back-to-back years following a rejigged schedule due to pandemic restrictions.
There’s never likely to be more eyes on the sport, so there’s great potential for profit over the next few years.
Top-Rated Investment: Luka Doncic Rookie Cards
We’ve come up with a list containing seven of the best soccer cards to invest in, featuring some of the biggest names in the sport.
Our list of the best soccer cards to buy right now contains a mix of established names and up-and-coming stars. First up is a unique mix of the two, and a player who is likely to shine for the next decade or so.
7. 2017 Kylian Mbappe Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League RC #41
Kylian Mbappe is one forward who has already fulfilled his potential, having become only the second teenager after Pelé to score in a World Cup Final in 2018.
He went on to move to PSG for a reported fee of $214 million, making him the second most expensive player in the world.
His 2017 Topps Chrome RC is more affordable than the World Cup alternative mentioned below, instead of focusing on his exploits in the Champions League with his club side.
2017 Kylian Mbappe Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Rookie Card Parallels: Refractors, Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/10), Superfractors (1/1)
6. 2019 Erling Haaland Topps Chrome Sapphire RC #74
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Erling Haaland offers everything Mbappe has skill-wise, including lightning pace and clinical finishing.
However, he’s only 20, while at 6’4 he’s a completely different prospect for defenders from a physical perspective.
The 2019-20 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition UEFA Champions League set was an online exclusive, with a public release on the UK site.
It was unreleased in the US, and the parallels are some of the hottest soccer cards on the market right now.
2019-20 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition UEFA Champions League Parallels: Yellow Sapphire (/99), Green Sapphire (/75), Orange Sapphire (/50), Purple Sapphire (/25), Red Sapphire (/5), Padparadscha (/1)
5. 2019 Erling Haaland Topps Chrome Bundesliga RC Auto #72
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A great alternative Haaland card would be his 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga RC.
The Terminator might play for an unfancied Norway side, but he has been linked to everywhere from Chelsea to Real Madrid, thanks to his ridiculous stats for Borussia Dortmund this season.
If he can keep up the form in a new league, this RC has to be seen as a no-brainer from an investment standpoint.
2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga Parallels: Green (/99), Gold (/50), Orange (/25), Red (/10), SuperFractor (/1)
4. 1958 Pele Alifabologet RC #635
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Taking a step back into the late 1950s, Pele was a clear step above the competition, so much so that he was named FIFA’s Player of the Century in 2000.
A three-time World Cup winner with Brazil, he’s now the star of a Netflix special that looks back over his insane career. The 1958 Alifabologet RC features a 17-year-old Pele in his blue, collared Brazilian national team kit.
It’s a Swedish card which was produced to coincide with the World Cup, made special by the fact that Brazil also won the tournament that year. As prices continue to rise, legends like Pele or Diego Maradona should be seen as low-risk investments compared to more volatile current players.
3. 2003 Cristiano Ronaldo Panini Sports Mega Craques RC #137
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At 36, the phenom that is Cristiano Ronaldo is still performing to a high standard on the pitch. Famed for his drive and goal-scoring abilities, the 2022 World Cup will be the last time we see a Ronaldo-led Portugal, which is one of the main reasons his RC is so high up on the list.
The card shows Ronaldo in his Sporting Lisbon kit, tearing down the wing with the ball at his feet. As with the other cards to make a list, it’ll take a significant chunk of change to add the Ronaldo RC to your personal collection.
2. 2004 Lionel Messi Panini Mega Cracks #71
It’s impossible to mention Ronaldo without thinking of his long-term rival, Lionel Messi. The Argentina and Barcelona legend is widely seen as the GOAT, while he’s also three years younger.
Even so, he threatened to leave Spain this season, and retirement is likely to be on the agenda in the mid-term. The 2004 Mega Cracks card is seen as the definitive Messi RC. Despite the lack of a signature, it features a strong image of the forward in Barca’s blue and red stripes, with the ball glued to his feet in customary fashion.
1. 2018 Kylian Mbappe Panini Prizm World Cup RC #80
Mbappe’s 2018 Panini Prizm card holds the top spot on the list. The player was the tournament star, and he only seems to have improved over the past three years. France is stacked in every position and is seen as the favorite to win Euro 2021, along with England and Belgium. More international accolades would only push the Mbappe World Cup RC’s price to the stratosphere.
Buyers Rating and Investment Outlook
Whether it be proven favorites or the next round of world-beaters, there’s a range of options if you’re looking for the best soccer cards to invest in during 2021. You can always stick with established names like Messi and Ronaldo, who should still have enough in the tank to have one last go at winning the greatest prize in the sport in 2022.
(For example, Ronaldo has confirmed that the ‘22 World Cup will be his last ever tournament, while Messi has always struggled to win with his Argentine compatriots.)
A lot will depend on the results of the upcoming internationals and the form of the younger players over the next few years. Mbappe seems to be a safe bet, but any young player is only one bad tackle away from seeing their career trajectory skew downwards.
His card still takes the top spot on our list, while we’d also advise keeping tabs on Haaland’s progress when the transfer window opens later this summer. If the Norwegian goes on to become a legend in La Liga or the Premier League, current prices will undoubtedly seem like a steal in comparison.