As soccer stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo continue to shine on the pitch, you can cash in on their success with a soccer card investment. Here are the best soccer cards to invest in that could be big wins in 2023 and beyond.
Updated Apr 19, 2023
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Soccer trading cards have become the must-have item for any sports fan or price-savvy collector. Their worth skyrocketed these last few years, and sales of soccer cards on eBay have exploded by 1568%, making it an almost impossible-to-ignore investment opportunity.
An incredibly rare 1958 Alifabologet #635 Pele rookie card recently sold for an astonishing $900,000, making it the first futbol card to sell for close to seven figures.
With fractional investment companies thriving and major tournaments just around the corner, now is the perfect time to pick up a few packs and look out for cards with big names—you might be sitting on a goldmine without even realizing it.
Soccer cards have been around since the late 19th century, making them some of the oldest trading cards around. They provide a great way for fans to collect memorabilia of players and teams of the world's most popular sport.
At first, soccer cards were just simple pictures of players, but as they grew in popularity, producers have added value by using colors, incorporating new designs, and adding holographic prints. More importantly, limited runs add even more value by introducing scarcity—the make-or-break factor of any collectibles investment.
Third-party grading can also increase the value of cards by verifying their condition and authenticity.
The trading card market is having a resurgence, with purchases rising 142% and card sales outside the U.S. surging by 162% in 2021. For established players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar Jr., the cost of entry is much lower than investing in a baseball rookie of Michael Jordan or Mike Trout.
Could this be a sign that it’s time to invest in the greatest players to have ever graced the pitch? Let’s find out.
Rookie cards of soccer icons are the most desirable and valuable cards mainly due to their rarity, demand, and popularity of the players.
Attackers and goal scorers are some of the most sought-after cards, with limited sets and numbered cards being popular among collectors. Autographs with match-worn material patch cards are highly sought after and are often priced the highest of any soccer memorabilia.
A 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Messi Rookie Card #71 sold for $336,000 in June 2021. Being the world's most beloved sport, stars of both past and present continue to shine. When it comes to their trading cards, there's no telling when you’ll rip open a pack and find the investment of a lifetime.
The 2003 Panini Mega Craques Christiano Ronaldo #137 soccer card is arguably the most sought-after card by Ronaldo fans. This card has been called Ronaldo’s true rookie card due to its release during his first season with Sporting Lisbon and it being his first card issued by a major brand.
The card design showcases Ronaldo in full flight, dribbling with the ball at his feet and sporting the Lisbon colors. This card’s rarity is what makes it so valuable—it wasn’t mass-produced and doesn’t feature a major European soccer league.
A PSA 10 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi #71 Rookie Card sold at Goldin Auctions for $336,000 in June 2021.
The 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi RC #71 soccer card is an iconic piece of football memorabilia that has long held an unwavering spot as the most valuable Lionel Messi card. It's a card that investors, collectors, and football fans alike are keen to get their hands on, pushing its price to new heights.
The two versions available are the Spanish (Campeon) and the Catalan (Campio). High demand for the card has only Lionel Messi’s infamy to thank, and high-grade examples of this card have the price tag to show for it.
2005 Mundi Cromo Liga #617 Lionel Messi Rookie Card PSA 10 sold at Goldin Auctions for $31,200 in October 2021.
Lionel Messi's true rookie soccer card is a real gem—it's the first-ever card issued of him at F.C. Barcelona, and young Messi is a real head-turner. He’s seen dribbling the ball with determination and an awkward shaggy haircut.
It's not the most valuable card, but it's still worth big money—a PSA 10 sold for $31,200 in 2021. If you want to invest in a classic, jumping on the Mundi Collections Messi rookie card bandwagon is likely a sound decision.
There are only 109 Panini Calciatori 1979 Diego Maradona #312 cards grade PSA 7 or above.
The 1979 Panini Calciatori release featuring Diego Maradona is one of the most valuable soccer cards on the market today. Featuring a simple profile image of the young superstar forward in a vintage blue and white Argentina kit, the card has become a collector's item due to its rarity and historical significance.
With only one PSA gem mint in existence, the card recently sold for an astonishing $555,960 in April 2021, setting a new record for soccer card prices.
Investors in UEFA Champions League cards have certainly seen a return on their investment. The market for these cards is surging because of their low-number print runs and artistic designs—these cards are proven long-term investments.
Cards featuring players like Youssoufa Moukoko, Kylian Mbappe, and Gavi have seen major increases in value. Sets like Topps Pearl, Knockout, Living, and First Edition are opportunities for collectors and investors to find the perfect card.
So, why not give champions league cards a shot? You might find the next big winner.
PSA 10 2019 Topps Chrome Sapphire Erling Haaland #74 UEFA Champions League card is worth around $700.
Erling Haaland's 2019 rookie card has become one of the most sought-after soccer cards in the hobby. This is mainly due to the fact that it was created by Topps, a premier brand in soccer cards that is renowned for its ability to identify the best young players.
The Norwegian sensation is now one of the top strikers in the world, and his rookie card serves as a collectible keepsake of his outstanding career journey.
There are only 20 PSA graded 2017 Topps Chrome Kylian Mbappe #41 Gold Refractor cards each worth upwards of $27,000.
Kylian Mbappé quickly rose to stardom in the football world and has achieved a level of success that could make pros twice his age jealous. His 2017 transfer to Paris Saint-Germain for a record €180 million made him the second-most expensive player in football history.
His Topps Chrome #41 rookie refractors are a grail for any serious collector because of its limited run coupled with high demand. Mbappé is known for lightning-quick speed and historic potential on the pitch—and his card is in the books as one of the most expensive of a young player.
A mint condition 2020 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Jude Bellingham #68 SP Superfractor sold for $39,600 in an October 2022 Goldin auction.
Jude Bellingham Topps Chrome UCL soccer cards are an incredibly successful investment. Despite the fact that they're mass-produced, the value of rare refractor cards have held up incredibly well. Even the serial-numbered parallels are still going for a premium, with the colored refractors being the most sought-after.
In recent years, soccer card investing has been a success story. Topps and Panini card sets offer great value and returns, with those featuring Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo fetching some of the highest prices in the market. For those looking to purchase football memorabilia, autographed cards featuring Messi and Ronaldo are your best bet.
The 2026 men's World Cup being hosted in the U.S. is a sign that soccer card collecting could come to the forefront in the near future. That means investing in soccer cards could be a great option for value growth both in the short and long term.
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