The Battle Continues Between Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe vs. Messi… Messi vs. Mbappe. While the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final featured two of the world’s top stars with storylines galore, the sports card investment world wondered how the result would affect each player’s short- and long-term card market.
On one hand, there’s Lionel Messi, winning his first ever World Cup, solidifying his legacy as an active GOAT, scoring two goals, including the clutch go-ahead in the 108th minute. A 2004 rookie, he represents a different era of cards, and still has potential markers ahead at age 35.
On the other hand, there’s Kylian Mbappe, only 23 years old, winner of the 2018 World Cup, adding eight total goals in 2022 – including a hat-trick in the final – to his 12 career World Cup goals and locking in the Golden Boot Award. By the way, those 12 career goals are tied with Pele already for sixth-most on the all-time World Cup scoring list.
And while the two faced off in what ended up being likely the best soccer match any of us will ever witness in our lifetimes, the fun thing is that they’ll join together as teammates for PSG in early 2023, with Ligue 1 matches starting January 11, and UEFA Champions League matches starting February 14.
Speaking of the UEFA Champions League, this article kicks off our new monthly UEFA Champions League Market Movers update, where we’ll be looking at the movement of top rookie cards from players who represent Champions League Clubs and/or rookie cards of top players from UEFA Champions League licensed sets.
Read about Messi, Mbappe and other trending stars and cards in this week’s Champions League Market Movers update.
Cards listed below are PSA 10s with a minimum average of $30 and 10 sales over the last 30 days.
PRICE GROWTH PERCENTAGE RISERS
MBAPPE DOMINATES IN MORE THAN ONE WAY: While the entire 2018-2020 soccer card market is up 2.2% over the last 30 days, Kylian Mbappe’s market is up 23% across 49 rookie cards, while Lionel Messi’s market is only up 5% across 45 rookie cards. Mbappe also has the top rookie card increase in the soccer card market, with his 2017 Topps Chrome UCL Lightning Strike PSA 10 up 88.5% over the last 30 days.
While Mbappe’s last two World Cup performances have solidified him as an active GOAT with 10-12 more years of key markers ahead to drive his card prices, typically Champions League matches for PSG have not been as impactful on his card market as the World Cup has. Take this as a word of caution on buying into his market now vs. waiting a little later into 2023.
PRICE GROWTH PERCENTAGE DECLINERS
THE NEXT MESSI? Pedri, the winner of the 2021 Golden Boy Award, is only 20 years old and is already regarded as one of the top players in the world. He’s listed as a midfielder, but plays more of a free-roam position for FC Barca and the Spanish National Team, and as he develops, could become a dominant force and command a large fanbase. Prior to the World Cup, Pedri’s card market was exploding, and since Spain was eliminated, dipped considerably simply due to lack of attention. I see him checking all the boxes of top sports card investment: the face of a top Champions League team with a worldwide fanbase, never leaving the pitch for a top national team contender, only 20 years old, and a plethora of investable ultra-modern cards. In addition to his 2020 Topps Chrome UCL #61 Refractor PSA 10 being down 61%, his 2020 Panini Megacracks La Liga #430 Base PSA 10 is down 47%, his 2020 Topps Merlin Chrome UCL #89 Base PSA 10 is down 36%, his 2020 Topps Chrome UCL #61 Base PSA 10 is down 29% and his 2020 Topps Merlin Chrome UCL #89 Refractor PSA 10 is down 20%.
DOLLAR GROWTH RISERS
LOW “(P)OPPORTUNITY”: The reason why the cards above have become top dollar growth risers is due to their low population in PSA 10. With the exception of Mbappe’s 2017 Topps Chrome UCL #41 Base PSA 10, all of the cards above have a PSA 10 population below 300. The lowest pop count of the bunch belonging to Christian Pulisic’s 2016 Donruss #224 Donruss Debuts – Purple PSA 10, with only 96. It’s sold four times in the last 30 days, meaning it’s not impossible to find, but being that it’s from 2016, it’s unlikely to see a huge increase in PSA 10 population. Given Pulisic should be the face of American Men’s Soccer for the next four to eight years (1-2 more World Cups), this card could be a great asset to pounce on, and the market apparently agrees, based on the data. His 2016 Select #150 Mezzanine Multi-Color PSA 10 is also scarce, with a pop count of only 147 and saw an increase of $150 and projects to be a solid long term investment as well.
DOLLAR GROWTH DECLINERS
THE WRONG TIME TO SELL HAALAND: A couple things have happened in the last 30 days. First of all, people have listed cards for Erling Haaland during the World Cup, possibly wanting to cash in on worldwide soccer hype and his amazing start to the Premier League season, maybe without realizing that he’s not playing in the World Cup, and with him completely out of the headlines, his prices were destined to drop, making it a great time to buy him, not sell him. The result? A huge drop in recent sales of his 2019 Topps Chrome UCL Sapphire Edition #74 Yellow /99 PSA 10 and his 2019 Topps Chrome UCL Sapphire Edition #74 Green /75 PSA 10, two banger cards that probably shouldn’t have been listed for sale in the last 30 days. Secondly, it looks like some less-than-desirable rookie cards were listed for players that people were likely waiting until the World Cup to sell, like the 2019 Ansu Fati Panini Megacracks #72BIS Base PSA 10, and the Lionel Messi 2004 Panini Megacracks #89 Base (Autografo) PSA 10.
Source: Market Movers
SALES VOLUME LEADERS
1. Kylian Mbappe 2017 Topps Chrome UCL #41 Base PSA 10 📈 101 sales
2. Ansu Fati 2019 Topps Chrome UCL #45 Base PSA 10 📈 35 sales
POPULAR SEALED WAX (HOBBY BOXES OVER LAST 30 DAYS)
1. Topps MLS 2022 Hobby Box Soccer 📈 76%
2. Topps Chrome MLS 2021 Hobby Box Soccer 📈 34%
3. Topps Merlin Chrome UCL 2020 Hobby Box Soccer 📈 15%
4. Chronicles 2020 Hobby Box Soccer 📈 12%
5. Topps Finest UCL 2020 Hobby Box Soccer 📉 10%
MARKET PULSE INDEXES OVER LAST 30 DAYS
Soccer 2018-2020: 📈 2%
- KEY RISER: Timothy Weah 2018 Donruss #198 Base PSA 10 📈 60.7%
- KEY DECLINER: Giovanni Reyna 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga #37 Base PSA 10 📉 69.7%
Football 2010-2017: 📉 -1%
- KEY RISER: Kylian Mbappe 2017 Topps Chrome UCL #LS-KM Lightning Strike PSA 10 📈 88.5%
- KEY DECLINER: Christian Pulisic 2016 Select #150 Mezzanine PSA 10 📉 54.4%
Football 2000-2009: 📉 -3%
- KEY RISER: N/A
- KEY DECLINER: Lionel Messi 2004 UK Traditions Football World Stars PSA 10 📉 27.3%
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Paul Hickey is a regular contributor to Sports Card Investor, the creator of the Sports Card Investment Report at NoOffseason.com, and the host of the Sports Card Strategy Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. He can be found on Instagram at @sportscardstrategy and on Twitter @nooffseasoncard.