One of our more popular articles from last year looked at the best soccer investment cards in 2022. We’ve updated the list in time for the New Year, looking at any major changes over the past 12 months. Which soccer cards would we recommend for 2023 and beyond?
It’s been a big year in football, with a controversial World Cup and the death of Pele in December. Has the outlook changed for the best cards in the hobby?
Here’s a roundup with some of the best soccer investment cards in 2023. It features some of the biggest names in the game, retired legends, and some great rookie options.
The Best Soccer Investment Cards: 2023
We’ve opted for a mix of sets and players when looking at the best soccer investment cards to buy in 2023.
10. 2006-07 Panini Foot France Karim Benzema RC #180 (eBay)
2022 Position: NEW ENTRY
Like a fine wine, Karim Benzema only seems to get better with age. One of the best strikers of his generation, he has won five UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid, and picked up the 2022 Ballon d’Or. One downside is that he was sent home prematurely by France coach Didier Deschamps at the World Cup.
The 2006-07 Panini Foot release shows a rookie Benzema in a profile shot. As with many early stickers, there aren’t many copies that have survived until the present day.
Panini Foot is one of the better known European sticker sets, and this is by far the most valuable option overall. A PSA 10 copy of the sticker (as seen above) recently sold for a flat $1,000.
9. 2018/19 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Phil Foden #179 (eBay)
2022 Position: #6
Next is Phil Foden’s 2018-19 Donruss RC. The Man City midfielder could yet become one of the best in the world, and performed well at the 2022 World Cup.
Rather than the base Rated Rookie subset, we’re looking at the Optic version, which can be identified via a small black logo on the bottom right corner.
If you’re on the market for a more affordable graded Foden card, the Press Proof Rated Rookie parallel is a great option.
- Parallels: Holo, Green Velocity #/200, Aqua #/149, Purple Velocity #/125, Orange #/99, Red Velocity #/50, Black Velocity #/25, Gold #/10, Green #/5, Gold Vinyl 1/1
8. 2002-03 Panini Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo RC #137 (eBay)
2022 Position: #4
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first ever card comes from his time spent at Sporting Clube de Portugal. He drops rapidly down the list compared to last year, after that interview and the decision to sign with a club in Saudi Arabia (Al Nassr).
The 2002-03 Panini Mega Craques features a large, full-bleed action shot of the player with the ball at his feet, which is fair considering he was best known for world class dribbling and fluid skills during his formative years.
It’s seen as Ronaldo’s ‘true’ rookie card. That is reflected by the high asking prices for ungraded copies, as well as PSA 10s. If you can only have one Ronaldo card and money is no object, this could be a great choice.
7. 2016 Panini Foot Soccer Corentin Jean/Kylian Mbappe RC #504/#505 (eBay)
2022 Position: #3
Kylian Mbappe is arguably the most potent striker in world football today, with a number of scintillating performances at the 2022 World Cup. This sticker has fallen down the list, but only because it has been replaced by Mbappe’s 2018 tournament RC.
The 2016 Panini Foot sticker set is one of the earliest to feature the striker, back when he had a double-barrelled surname and played for the Principality of Monaco.
Untorn stickers also feature Corentin Jean, who now plays as a striker for MLS club Inter Miami.
They’re hard to come by, and even tougher to locate in pristine condition. There are just 190 PSA 10 copies according to the registry.
6. 2020 Topps Chrome UCL Sapphire Edition Jude Bellingham RC #68 (eBay)
2022 Position: NEW ENTRY
Jude Bellingham is one of the biggest talents in world football. He broke multiple records for Borussia Dortmund at the tender age of 18. He’s also the youngest Englishman to start a Champions League match, breaking the record previously set by Phil Foden. He had a great World Cup, and there are numerous big clubs that are after his signature.
The 2020-21 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition offers an assortment of base cards, parallels and a few image variations. It’s an exclusive blue version of the base 2020-21 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League set.
They might be unsigned, but copies of this rare Bellingham RC will always sell for a premium, easily matching the autographed versions seen above.
- Parallels: Aqua #/150, Yellow #/99, Green #/75, Orange #/50, Purple #/25, Red #/5, Padparadscha 1/1
5. 2020 Panini Obsidian Black Color Blast Erling Haaland #3 (eBay)
2022 Position: #5
Despite a few injury issues, he’s one of the best soccer cards to buy right now, and has the potential to break numerous records over the next 15 years. Haaland cards have to be seen as a no-brainer investment.
4. 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup Soccer Kylian Mbappe RC #80 (eBay)
2022 Position: NEW ENTRY
The 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup RC has to be seen as Mbappe’s best collectible card overall.
Mbappe became the second teenager, after Pelé, to score in a World Cup Final in 2018.
With four goals in the tournament he received the FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award. He then went on to grab the Golden Boot in 2022, scoring a hat-trick in the final.
Soccer card collectors are always fond of cards from the biggest tournament in world football. As with every card from the base set, Prizm parallels are numerous, while there are also Cyrillic versions highlighting hosts Russia to keep an eye out for.
Parallels: Silver, Hyper, Lazer, Mojo, Red Mosaic, Black/Gold Wave, Green/Orange Wave, Red/Blue Wave, Blue #/199, Red #/149, Light Blue Lazer #/125, Purple #/99, Orange #/65, Pink Lazer #/40, Green Crystals #/25, Camo #/20, Gold Lazer #/15, Gold #/10, Pink #/8 (NSCC), Gold Power #/5, Blue Shimmer #/5 (FOTL), Black 1/1. VARIATIONS: Cyrillic Text
3. 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi RC #71 (eBay)
2022 Position: #2
The 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi RC is iconic, and could have easily taken the top spot on this list. Especially after he finally won the 2022 World Cup with Argentina, cementing his legacy as the GOAT.
A full-bleed action shot sees the player with the ball seemingly glued to his foot. (He was still turning out for Barca B at the time, which is why he’s wrapped in a vintage kit.)
Then there’s the sheer value, as it’s the most expensive Messi card by some distance when looking at graded versions. It’s my personal pick of the Messi RCs, and it’s also favoured by many collectors and investors.
2. 1970 Panini Campioni Dello Sport Soccer Pele #93 (eBay)
2022 Position: #8
Following his passing in December 2022, Pele stickers and autos are a hot commodity.
The first Pele collectible to make the list is from the 1970 Panini Campioni Dello Sport sticker set. Famously, Brazil won the 1970 World Cup final 4–1, keeping the Jules Rimet Trophy indefinitely. Pele was named player of the tournament.
Over half a century old, there aren’t many copies according to the PSA registry, making it one of his rarer vintage options from a special season.
1. 1958 Alifabolaget Pele RC #635 (eBay)
2022 Position: #1
There’s no change for the card in the top spot.
A legendary Swedish-issue release, the 1958 Alifabologet #635 Pele RC has to be seen as the holy grail for soccer card collectors. The star is shown on the field in his Brazil kit at the 1958 World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden.
Of course, Brazil won the tournament, led by a 17-year-old Pele who simultaneously became the youngest player to participate in, score, and win a World Cup final.
The Brazilian maestro is widely seen as the best player ever. As you might expect, the attention paid to his most important cards shows no signs of letting up.
This culminated in the $1.3M sale of his RC in February 2022, which is the first time a soccer card has breached the $1M barrier.
It was top last year, and would still be our ultimate soccer card investment recommendation for 2023.
The Best Soccer Investment Cards: Major changes
There have been some major changes in the soccer landscape over the past 12 months. What does this mean for the best soccer investment cards in 2023?
Maybe the Messi/Ronaldo debate has been settled for now, even if we should factor in CR7’s advancing years. Mbappe showed the world that he truly is the real deal, while Haaland is hitting insane levels at Man City. Then there’s Pele, who will be sorely missed by anyone with an interest in the sport.
That’s without accounting for the next wave of promising rookies.
The Best Soccer Investment Cards: Final Thoughts
That concludes our list of the best soccer investment cards for 2023, highlighting some of the biggest names in the sport along with their greatest collectibles.
For more info, check out our guide for the best time to buy soccer cards, or let us know which player you’re planning to invest in this year!