In the past couple of years, we have seen an increase in talent that comes from Portugal – especially from Benfica. Benfica has had one of the best youth academies in the world, and in the 2010s, they had some world-class players.
But they also have some great scouting departments, that allow them to sign and develop players. They don’t just rely on their academy, they also find that hidden gem and polish them into world-class talent.
Right, but how can we correlate this with the hobby? Where do the trading cards come into play? I’ll tell you: one of the hottest cards from the 2018-19 Topps Chrome Champions league set is….. João Félix – and guess which team he was playing for…. Benfica! When Rúben Dias was considered the best player in the EPL, guess which team he had his rookie card on… Benfica.
You can see a trend here – that the ultra-modern rookie cards from Benfica, most of them, come in the Topps Chrome set. Back then, you had the Panini Megacraques, and they would come out there, but nowadays, it’s Topps that runs the market.
Topps has been having some team sets – like Liverpool, PSG, and Salzburg – and it’s here that Benfica comes. Salzburg has been having a team set pretty much every year now. Why did you ask? Because they have a great youth academy – you can get the rookies before they even play in the first team.
Benfica this season (2022-23) has been present in every hobby set released – Topps Merlin 98 (yet to be released), Topps Deco and Topps Simplicidad (yet to be released). The idea of having a team set is not that outrageous. In these sets, we have seen an increase in cards and autos – plus one of the hottest prospects out there – Enzo Fernandez – https://www.instagram.com/p/ClcQ9pjAbZK/. And it also features the first Gonçalo Ramos hobby auto – https://www.instagram.com/p/CgxY6fMowmf/
But Ohobby, how would you do the set? Which players would you feature? I will name a few
Henrique Araujo (RC) – ST – scored 3 goals in the Youth League final and was a key player for the B Squad –https://www.instagram.com/p/CcySJU2Di5q
António Silva (RC) – CB – started in the world cup at just 18 – https://www.instagram.com/p/Cka_rdvg1wj/
Martin Neto (CM), Ndour (CM), Diego Moreira (winger) – all top prospects for Benfica – all RC
Andreas Schjelderup (RC) – Winger – wonderkid – https://www.instagram.com/p/CnU89XDgsXe
And these are just some examples – auto wise you could include (past and present): João Félix, Ruben Dias, Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Matic, Witsel, Rodrigo, Jonas, Rui Costa, Nuno Gomes, Simão… These are just a few.
Benfica also has one of the best fan bases in the world – pretty much every Benfica fan worldwide would support this set and buy loads of boxes.
I think it’s just a matter of time till this set becomes a reality. Maybe 2023 will be the year.