As we know, the World Cup is not only a hotbed for controversy, but also for recognising and sourcing some potentially very valuable rookie stickers in the football world. So, let’s see which ones might begin to peak following their success at the Qatar World Cup …
What are Valuable Rookie Stickers?
There have been a number of top young players from Qatar 2022.
But there’s a difference between being ‘talented’ and being ‘valuable’.
Things such as scarcity, storytelling, emotional attachment and prima facie appeal
This list will work by not simply picking these players, but more the ‘surprise packages’ of the tournament who have stood out and developed a following since it started.
And in no particular order, we begin with…
Jude Bellingham – CM (England)
What is there to say about Jude Bellingham that hasn’t already been said?
He’s had a shirt retired in his honour from his boyhood club, he’s one of few players to go out of his comfort zone and succeed, and now he’s got a World Cup under his belt.
Suffice to say, Jude has a number of valuable rookie cards to choose from.
A hand-drawn collectible commissioned by Topps with artist Musa Drammeh as an homage to a collection from the late ‘70s, with a 1/1 pencilled design of players with their club with the intention of never being produced again in this format.
While that’s a great option, Panini are on hand with their customary World Cup collection.
The sticker maestros have produced your usual grey-backed stickers with every player from the tournament, with certain stand-out performers like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi increasing in rarity, but gems like Bellingham aren’t as prized.
So, finding his base Panini insert could turn out to be among the most locatable and valuable rookie stickers from this World Cup, provided you store it correctly and hunt for more.
The value will only increase should recent transfer speculation be proved legitimate.
Because then you can sell your sticker as not only ‘from his first ever World Cup’, but also before he ‘truly made it big’ on the continental front at club level. Not bad.
Hobby FC Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Value ~ £30-100 (Dependent on Grading)
Eduardo Camavinga – CM (France)
Much like Jude Bellingham, this is the first big-stage outing for Eduardo Camavinga,
Who also has a pretty tasty number in the aforementioned Topps UCL Living Set.
Arguably less valuable than Bellingham purely by virtue of the fact that his eventual move to a big club has already come to fruition, it’s believed that the value of a Camavinga sticker or card from Qatar will wholly rely on France’s success in the tournament.
He’s played well, but hasn’t stood out too far on his own (like Bellingham, for example), and probably won’t get many opportunities to add to his highlight reel.
That being said, it’s still a pre-eminent time to collect Camavinga merchandise.
Real Madrid are going through a whole new era with him and Tchouameni promising to be the latest generation of Los Blanco midfields, and that’s going to take time to form.
Hence why prices are as low as £40 for graded cards – sometimes a PSA 10! Might not be the most valuable rookie stickers for now, but could be a great investment in Eduardo Camavinga’s trajectory that pans out somewhere near what’s expected with Madrid.
Hobby FC Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Value ~ £25-70 (Dependent on Grading)
Rafael Leâo – ST (Portugal)
This one is in a similar vein to Eduardo Camavinga above.
As far as valuable rookie stickers go, Rafael Leao doesn’t have many right now.
And following Portugal’s ignominious and unexpected departure in Qatar at the hands of Morocco in the quarter-final, it’s difficult to pick many of their players in this list.
That being said, Leao did have a solid World Cup, with the odd goal coming in the more clear appearances for his nations when the game was already beyond doubt, though it was also coming during a season which has gone well for the mercurial forward.
Deployed as a ‘busy body’ behind a solid front man for AC Milan and now three years’ deep into his tenure in Italy, a big move could be on the cards for him.
As things stand, Chelsea and Real Madrid have signalled interest in his services.
And should those moves come to fruition, it could prove to be the catalyst needed for savvy salespeople to flog his cards and/or stickers once his stock rises.
Though I expect that this wouldn’t be worth it without a big move materialising.
Hobby FC Rating: ⭐️⭐️ | Value ~ £20-40 (Dependent on Grading)
Enzo Fernandez – CM (Argentina)
Many of us had our eye on Enzo Fernandez from the off in this tournament.
And it’s safe to say that he really hasn’t disappointed at all.
Right from the get-go, Fernandez has been exactly what this Argentina team has needed for a while – a dynamic, box-to-box player with the energy and tenacity required to break up play from one end and get things going down the other.
Although things got off to the worst possible start with that loss against Saudi Arabia, Enzo Fernandez has been a present figure in the resurgence that took place thereafter.
As such, his is one of the most valuable rookie stickers on this list.
Especially from the Panini collection, his design takes this unassuming, typically ‘rookie-like’ feel which adds to the overall mystique of the pick-up itself.
In other words, he doesn’t look like the type of sticker that you’d want to put in a sleeve and plastic top loader for fear of scuffing the corners, so finding one and keeping it in pristine condition could be a telling factor in getting top dollar in the resale market.
Not only is he going to closely rival fellow countryman Julian Alvarez and the aforementioned Jude Bellingham for FIFA’s ‘Golden Boy’ award, but he’s also apparently on the verge for signing with a big club from Benfica in the pending transfer window.
You can already find PSA 10-graded versions for £50+ and it’s going higher.
Hobby FC Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Value ~ £50-150 (Dependent on Grading)
Cody Gakpo – ST (Netherlands)
I could have easily picked Julian Alvarez here, but this lad deserves a mention.
What an incredible few seasons at club level, the World Cup came at a good time.
Under the stewardship of legendary Dutch forward Louis van Gaal, it was expected that he’d be a key focal point for Louis van Gaal for his Netherlands side in Qatar.
And right from the get-go, fitness issues with Memphis Depay gave him that opportunity.
With multiple transfer-makers looking on with interest. Cody Gakpo put on a stellar campaign for his fans in what was a weird campaign overall for a Dutch side over-reliant on his enthusiasm and the midfield-controlling necessity of Frenkie de Jong stationed closely behind him.
Messrs van Dijk and de Ligt did all they can to keep the tide against them at bay, but there still remained an emphasis on Cody Gakpo and Depay to get the goals when they could.
Breaking into the top 10 for Qatar’s scorers, Gakpo got 3 goals in 5 games.
Not too shabby for his first major international tournament.
And not to sound like a broken record, but the reason he’s also on this ‘valuable rookie stickers’ list is because of his now-confirmed move to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side come January.
Taking him to a club like this, after a great debut World Cup for a projected €30 million, could be exactly what’s necessary to boost Cody Gakpo’s career and his asset value.
The orange in his Panini sticker also helps with the buying process – it’s a lovely looking thing, tbh. So is Enzo Fernandez’ – to be honest, they’re my favourite picks!
Hobby FC Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Value ~ £60-120 (Dependent on Grading)
It’s been an astonishing World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Almost unlike any other international tournament, it’s brought together the end of one era, with the dawn of the next, and all in a time when football-related assets are on the rise.
Valuable rookie stickers, cards, shirts and other keepsakes are what every collector would have wanted around 2006 or 2010 when the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar were making their way in the game – especially with the brand and prestige they carry now.
So, as we move into this new era of filming everything and building brands, it’s becoming even more clear that banking on youngsters could pay dividends sooner than usual.
Who was your stand-out young performer from Qatar 2022?