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Top ‘Future Star’ Cards in Panini Adrenalyn XL (2023/24)

Technically, I’m cheating here – as there are only 3 ‘future stars’ from the latest Panini Adrenalyn XL collection and I’m only writing about 3 here. But I guess that does make them the best too, right?

In this latest edition of the famous Panini range, I must confess myself very pleasantly surprised at the design choice and quality of the cards this year. And in particular, their choice of ‘special cards’ – ranging from ‘powerhouses‘, to ‘colossus‘, ‘fire‘ and of course ‘future star‘.

What is a ‘Future Star’?

It’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? But I’m going to explain it anyway.

A ‘future star’ as apparently defined by Panini as a player (or players) that they believe have shown a strong semblance of potential in previous season(s) and have a higher ‘ceiling’ than most players.

They’re young, vibrant, exciting and almost certain to become ‘the next big thing‘ if the stars align that way. So, from a collectors’ standpoint, they’re a player worth investing in and collecting.

I myself am not too keen on labelling players in this way – particularly when it comes to collectibles, as it feels like the manufacturer is making my mind up on what’s good to collect and what isn’t. But Panini’s designs and coupling with a base card make that easy to ignore.

So, let’s see which 3 players are blessed to capture their ‘future star’ decal…

Rico Lewis (Manchester City)

Like the others on this list, Rico Lewis’ star started shining brightest throughout last season, as he played his part brilliantly in Manchester City’s historic treble-winning campaign.

Right-back, left-back, left-wing-back, right-left-centre-half-wing-back. Whatever Pep decreed, Rico Lewis has been the exact type of player to realise the game plan that was required.

That being said, he will struggle to break into Manchester City’s starting lineup.

Which isn’t anything akin to a reflection of his own playing ability, which has been exceptional practically every time he’s represented them. It’s just the fortune (or misfortune) of having a number of established, top-class international players ahead of him in each position.

With that in mind, it may be that Rico Lewis’ best playing days lay away from the Etihad Stadium, but wherever he goes, he’s more than fully deserving of his ‘future star’ card. He just signed a new long-term deal too, so he’ll be a huge investment for a new club at the very least.

Naturally, defenders aren’t seen to be as ‘collectible’ as the attacking players, but given the versatility of this young lad, who knows what the future may have in store for him?

Julio Enciso (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Brighton’s recruitment is exactly what I want every club to try and do.

Instead of reading Sky Sports news, and hoovering up funds to spend on ‘tried and tested’ talent, why not use your savviness for data and tactical analysis and actually work a little bit harder.

They’ve done this with a number of players – and Julio Enciso is just one of them.

In truth, when making these ‘future star’ special cards, they had a pick of the Brighton team to choose from – Evan Ferguson, Moises Caicedo and Kaoru Mitoma to name but a precious few.

But as things stand, the sky is the limit for Julio Enciso. Entrusted by enamoured manager Roberto De Zerbi to play the ‘whatever you like‘ role, we’ve seen glimpses of what the Paraguayan can do.

Adopting the central-attacking-midfield role with gusto, he’s capable of moving to the flanks, driving at the defence and even scoring with long-range efforts from outside the area. He has that excitement and intrigue about him that keeps non-fans and even rivals engaged.

And while Brighton are a very good institution and deserve to keep hold of their players, it may be a slippery upward slope for Enciso as his ‘future star’ may have to also burn elsewhere soon.

Alejandro Garnacho (Manchester United)

I’ve spoken about this kid before, so I’ll keep it pretty brief this time around.

There are two things we need to know about Garnacho’s future at Manchester United.

Firstly, that he is a fan-favourite with the United faithful and most importantly, to manager Erik Ten Hag. Such that he’s progressing from his role of ‘academy graduate’ to ‘super sub’, to ‘established teammate’ really rather quickly. And is looking good value in his newer roles.

Secondly, he didn’t get the number we all thought he would this season.

In fact, as things stand, he may stick with his original ‘49‘ academy number for the coming year and then, he may make his long-awaited switch to another more established nameset.

A large portion of United fans wanted him to get the No.7 before it was given to Mason Mount, but with that idea shelved, his future star card may have his last season as a No.49.

In other words, his last season as a ‘rookie‘ – and we all know that collectors love a good rookie.

Oh, and we also have the fact that Alejandro Garnacho is probably the most exciting and talked-about of all of these ‘future stars’, and given his immediate exposure into first-team matters, he may continue to shine brightly for the coming season – a truly pivotal one for club and player alike.


I’m really loving these future stars cards from the Panini Adrenalyn XL collection.

Not only is it a welcome tonic for collectors like me who want a bit more guidance on the world of rookies (which having that base card really helps with), but like I said in the introduction, the designs are brilliant, also.

As a Manchester United fan, I can already see myself collecting as many Garnacho cards as possible, but realistically, I wouldn’t mind multiple of the other future star cards, also.

I’ll be sure to be doing similar pieces on other special cards from the Panini Adrenalyn XL bunch in the Hobby FC card collection, so make sure you bookmark that for when you need to return.

For now, I ask you to get away from your laptop, smartphones or whatever other medium is being used to read this, and consider getting your own packs just in time for the season.

If you pack of ‘Future Star’, make sure you let us know on Twitter @’Hobby_FC’.