One of the most iconic sets Panini have made! This set has so many great stickers that the top 10 was a real challenge! I had to leave out some really top players; some will be included in the honourable mentions at the end of my list. Enough babbling, lets get to it!
10 – Sergio Ramos – #538 – International Rookie Sticker
Sergio Ramos has had a legendary career and the only defender to make this list! Winning countless trophies on the biggest stage, he may well go down as the greatest ever Real Madrid centre back. Here features his first international sticker. A very under-valued sticker in my opinion; he will win more trophies at PSG to close out his career. I really expect this sticker to rise in value once he retires! I have a couple of these and won’t be selling anytime soon.
9 – Ronaldo (R9) – #396 – Final International Sticker
Regarded by many as the best 9 to ever play, Ronaldo comes in at number 9! One of the most talented players ever to play the game. Maybe no one has matched his peak to date. He was absolutely unstoppable charging through defences at will. Plagued with season ending injuries, he was never able to reach the level of his younger years. Make no mistake, he was still one of the best players in the world despite all the injuries; which is a testament to how much skill this guy has. O Fenômeno still bagged 3 goals in this World Cup to mark an incredible 15 World Cup goals in his career. Not much more needs to be said, a legend and a legendary sticker.
8 – Zinedine Zidane – #467 – Final International Sticker
One of the greatest players ever comes in at 8! Zinedine Zidane is a footballing icon known for his skill and elegance on the pitch. Any products of his are sure to hold value. The 2006 World Cup was his last tournament for France and he went out with a bang. Literally! The tournament’s most infamous moment involved Zidane getting sent off in the final (Yes, the Final!) for head-butting Italian defender, Marco Materazzi. Scoring a goal and then getting sent off like he did; I think the historical significance to this sticker is enticing enough for every collector want this in their collection!
7 – Zlatan Ibrahimović – #166 – Second World Cup Sticker
Zlatan! He’s a serial winner and one of the most iconic players of all time. Known for his bravado, he definitely has the skills to back it up! His highlight reel is endless, consisting of goals that don’t look possible. His bicycle-kick vs England come to mind – if you haven’t seen it, look it up! This is Zlatan’s third international sticker and has serious potential to hold value. He is still quite young with not many products for club and country prior. On top of that, he is still playing at the age of 41, winning a title with Milan last season. A freak of nature!
6 – Wayne Rooney – #111 – First World Cup Sticker
Manchester United and England’s all-time top scorer, I think Wayne Rooney is very under rated in the hobby! Maybe I have been harsh to put him at number 6 and would definitely accept arguments with that contention. Rooney was a monster, especially at this age. His work-rate coupled with his technical ability made defenders constantly uneasy. Although he didn’t score in this tournament, he is much more than just a goal scorer. I think he was one of the biggest team players out there, always assisting others and accepting to play out of his favoured position. The fact he is still the top scorer for United and England is an amazing achievement.
5 – Ronaldinho – #393 – Second World Cup Sticker
Ronaldinho! Maybe the most influential player football has seen in the past 20 years! In my opinion the most technically gifted player I have ever seen. At his peak was unplayable and simultaneously the number 1 entertainer. Many players have gone on record saying that he was their idol. Ronaldinho play style was infectious and brought joy to the footballing world; something I think is missing in modern day football. Not that football is not entertaining now, it is just players are now, to an extent, coached out of expressing themselves. In my opinion, a sound investment. The love for Ronaldinho is not going away anytime soon, all collectors need this sticker!
4 – Xavi Hernández – #542 – International Rookie Sticker
Xavi Hernández international rookie sticker. This caught me way off guard when I was researching this set I had no idea this was actually his international rookie! His club rookie sticker is prior to 2000, so for his international rookie to come in 2006 was surprising to say the least. One of the best centre midfielders ever and, for me personally, the best I have watched. Xavi didn’t have incredible goal or assist statistics, but the way he was able to dictate the centre of the park was second to none! He was impossible to press, whenever someone would get near him he would magically send them the other direction. I am an enjoyer of possession football and he was the best at it. A very interesting collectors item and now he is FC Barcelona’s manager, it has the potential to get more interesting!
3 – Ricardo Kaká – #392- International Rookie Sticker
Kaká is another iconic Brazilian and here is his international rookie sticker! Deployed as a number 10, his ability to carry the ball, assist and score won him a Ballon d’Or in 2007. He was unplayable at times for AC Milan and Carlo Ancelotti’s system was tailor-made to allow him to thrive. He earned a mega-money move to Real Madrid but was plagued with injuries, a sad truth for many Brazilians. He never quite reached the heights of his AC Milan playing days but remained one of the most popular players in the world. I think this is an amazing sticker and for sure will be valuable in the future. I am still yet to get my hands on one; it is definitely one I need to add!
2 – Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) – #298 – First World Cup Sticker
CR7’s first World Cup sticker and second international sticker. Not much I need to say here. In the conversation to be the GOAT. An easy second place which may have people scratching their heads as to why it’s not number 1. There is only 1 sticker that could trump this.
Already super valuable, with time it will only increase.
1 – Leo Messi – #185 -International Rookie Sticker
Coming in at number 1, Leo Messi’s International rookie sticker. I don’t need to tell you about this guy, if you are reading this, you know he’s a genius. At number 1 because it’s his first international sticker as opposed to CR7’s second sticker. The two are pretty much neck-and neck. I am just glad both players don’t have rookies in the same year. A world war might erupt ???? .
I have this sticker of Messi and will probably never sell it.
Very Honourable Mentions
This set is absolutely ridiculous. There is so many great players and so many to miss out. I will give you a brief summary of who’s missing.
International Rookies: Van Persie, Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Essien, De Rossi, Vidić, Drogba aaaaanddd Cahill (had to be a patriot and give Tim a mention) to name a few.
Others to not make the cut: Beckham, Tevez, Totti, Donavon, Klose, Gerrard, Lampard, Larsson, Crespo, Riquleme, Figo, Robben, Van Nistelrooy, Deco, Pirlo, Del Piero, Henry, Vieira, Trezeguet, Ji-sung Park, Puyol, Raul, Buffon Casillas and Shevchenko.
Making this list was near impossible and I am sure I have probably made mistakes somewhere. Let me know what you think and comment below.